Review of The Astral City by Chico Xavier / André Luiz

I read that story with great interest. Given the context of the life of Chico Xavier, that sounded very serious and I still consider most plausible that Chico Xavier was indeed honestly writing under spirits dictation. However I remain generally cautious regarding the truth or wisdom of any information from beyond. I'm not an expert on the topic and I did not have any personal experience with the supernatural except from the use of boji stones. I just try to apply rational analysis on any topic. So here are my few notes on special aspects I found in the story of the Astral City (from which I still don't draw any conclusion, remaining open to further information).

The depressing/terrestrial aspects

Much of the story sounded rather realistic , though somewhat depressing since it describes as very common to fall into the "lower zone", and still things in that city all sound strangely similar to earthly environments. This contrasts with most NDEs which are much more positive and more often exploring heavenly realms, but that contrast can be explainable as coming from the focus of that particular adventure on the case those unfortunate deceased people. On the other hand NDE testimonies, being only from a minority of people with clinical death, may have the opposite bias of more often happening to people in more positive situations.

References to Jesus

The Astral City is a Christian community. Its members believe in Jesus. I find a sweet irony in that side of things. People there are essentially just religious with their Christian faith in roughly the same way as can be found on Earth. That is, they believe in Jesus but never saw him (except supposedly the 2 most prominent leaders of that large population, at least one of whom generally refuses to talk about it), and they go on with their lives, doing their jobs which have their own logic, apprenticeship etc., which have quite a number of aspects of lives of spirits (compatible with information from diverse parapsychological sources independently of religious affiation), with their own features, politics etc. giving perspectives on afterlife... but however far the adventure goes, the role of Jesus remains roughly as distant as it is from communities of ordinary Christian people on Earth. Somehow God plays a bigger role, but the way the name of Jesus stumbles there, seems more superfluous, conventional and less meaningful than on Earth. Namely the role of Jesus is essentially reduced to that of author of some wise Gospel verses (yes the same Gospels we have on Earth), which the authorities in that community have the opportunity to carefully cherry-pick and quote from time to time as they need to make a point in their speeches depending on practical circumstances they need to address.
Meanwhile, what is, as far as I usually heard, the main tenet of Christianity, that is the doctrine of redemption of our sins by the blood of Christ, is silently dropped to insignificance. Providence is there somehow and "nobody is foresaken" but still people have to redeem themselves by hard work while painfully trying to help each other. Reincarnation goes, while the concept of resurrection is completely ignored.
Thus, changing the name of Jesus for that of any other deity would hardly make any difference on how things go there. Mention is made of the "great brotherhoods of the East", which are other spirit communities rather separated from this one, but in the story, nobody has the indiscretion of wondering, mentioning or asking, whether these eastern brothers also believe in Jesus or not.
So, this all fits with the information I could find elsewhere, that people just have the freedom to carry their religious beliefs after death for some time, and even to unconsciously create things there from their expectations, while spirit guides may often take the formed of the deities believed by recently dead people just to make them feel comfortable, until eventually dismissed as superfluous.

Hard work

There is a scene where a woman pleading for service faced the criticism of not having accepted jobs in the Astral City, while she replied that every job which was proposed to her in the past was much too hard for her. The minister lists the different jobs which he offered, then that every time he "understood" that it was too hard, so offered another. Why couldn't he anticipate this mismatch which he recognized then ? Maybe her problem was that she wasn't staying in the right spiritual colony for her, and would have been better in another colony or anywhere that could have brought her better opportunities of spiritual growth. As many people, such as Luiz, happen to have the chance of enjoying their jobs, while for those who "need to be forced", there are also big possibilities such as reincarnation, to be forced or to force oneself to undergo any kind of "needed suffering" if that makes any sense, telling that there are people for whom God cannot find any suitable job or training plan in any possible reality, sounds quite strange.

Abortion

I found a dire lack of detailed explanation in the scene about "the vampire". Roughly, that scene means to condemn abortion as a crime. However, while a distinction is explicitly made between the case of that particular woman labelled "vampire", and cases when abortion is done by necessity to save the mother's life, no good explanation is given on where the limit should be drawn and how, between justified and "criminal" cases. The culprit seems to endlessly stay in total incomprehension of the nature of her faults. But the reader is not given the opportunity to understand it any better than her. I think, if someone didn't take the job of practicing abortion, it would change nothing as pregnant women who want to abort would find someone else to do that job instead. Of course if she undertook to decide abortions without good reasons on women who weren't coming for this purpose then the guilt is clear. But the story doesn't specify what is the case. So I'd say it is just speaking for nothing.

Gender preservation

While I read in the book Seth Speaks, that genders are not attached to souls, so that a good series of reincarnations must go through both male and female lives (for some in separate series, for others in alternance), the Astral City story never mentions any case of gender changes during reincarnation. All people seem to keep the same gender in the afterlife than in their last life, and even to keep it in their next reincarnation. What I see as even more strange, is the plan of Andre's mother to come to a new life on Earth with the precise purpose to become the mother of 2 given "unfortunate women" now in the lower zone. I can find neither any good reason why they would be better off as her own daughters rather than as daughters of anyone else, nor how can she dare predict at all that she would have 2 daughters in her life, rather than sons (and what would be the problem if these 2 "unfortunate women" turned out to come back as males, by the way ?). The gender of future children is clearly not physically determined such a long time in advance. But if we assume the possibility for spirit workers to fix that during conception, it raises further questions. Namely, lots of abortions of female fetuses happened in China by parents who absolutely wanted a son while they had no right to have more than 1 child. If spirit guides could choose the genders of future babies they should have cared to give daughters more often to parents ready to accept them. Now they have a gender imbalance because, well, facts clearly show that genders come at random rather than obeying any spirits plans.

A strange coincidence

Mainly the end of the story sounded unrealistic to me : the way things happened coincidentally. When his host from the Astral City undertook to come to Earth for a new incarnation, the narrator Andre was invited to join the trip in order to visit his own family, a visit he had wished for long but was denied until then. But that visit happened at the exact time when, it turned out his family direly needed his help.
That such a time when his coming would be needed, both for himself (to learn a new spiritual lesson) and for them (to save a life), would happen to exist at all in their whole life, is already a significant coincidence. But that this time would coincide with both, roughly the period when he would be ready to help and learn that lesson from there, and very precisely the time when his host was coming for a new life on Earth, sounds too miraculous, and thus probably fictional in my opinion. I see no good reason for such a coincidence to happen. Spirits are generally busy with a lot of work where they have to adapt to circumstances. They should not have any problem to organize things that do not come in coincidence, such as, I would expect the additional effort of organizing 2 trips to the Earth instead of one when there are 2 independent reasons to go there, as an easier job than God's job of making 2 independent needs coincide in time.

Was it all just to make a good movie ?

The only "reason" I see for that coincidence, is that of serving as a good script for a touching movie with an happy end.
Many pages are spent describing atmospheres and environments... that is boring to read as it takes an effort of imagination to figure out. Such descriptions can be useful to people working to make a nice movie out of it, but if I was a spirit with a lot of knowledge and with the opportunity to dictate things to a medium, I guess I'd have lots of more urgent information to dictate than detailed descriptions of atmospheres and environments. At least that is my personal view on the matter.
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