Poetical excerpts from:

 

FLASHES OF LIGHT

 

FROM

 

 

THE SPIRIT-LAND,

 

———

 

THROUGH THE MEDIUMSHIP

 

OF

 

MRS. J. H. CONANT.

 

COMPILED BY

 

ALLEN PUTNAM,

 

AUTHOR OF “SPIRIT WORKS;" "NATTY, A SPIRIT;" "MESMERISM,

SPIRITUALISM, WITCHCRAFT, AND MIRACLE;" ETC.,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOSTON:

 

 

1872.


 

 

 

 

APPENDIX TO PREFACE.

 

————

 

A request was made that a few Invocations in verse, uttered at the public circles, and some poetical effusions, through the same organism, at other places, should be included in this volume. They could have no fitting place among Questions and Answers, and are made an Appendix here.

 

INVOCATION.

 

Holy angels, guide these mortals

O'er the mystic waves of time;

Open wide the shining portals

Leading unto heights sublime;

Lift, O lift the veil that hides them

From their loved ones, gone before!

Show them but their shining faces,

Waiting on the other shore.

 

————

 

CHRISTMAS INVOCATION.

 

O thou, whose mysterious presence

Fills the earth, the air and sea,

We would chant undying praises,

We would worship only thee.

 

From the earth's unnumbered altars

Human sighs and tears are born,

Praying for a glad hereafter –

Weary watchers in the storm.

 

Let them hear the chime of voices

Voices from the spirit-land –

Waking all the slumbering echoes,

Strengthening heart and strengthening hand.

 

17


 

18                           APPENDIX TO PREFACE.

 

Let them see the star of promise

That shall lead to brighter days,

Over all the plains of error,

Where the babe of Bethlehem lays.

 

Let them sing that holy anthem,

Sung by angels long ago,—

"Peace on earth, good will from Heaven,"

Golden side of human woe.

 

Then the night shall grow to morning,

Then the angels join the song,

For the day of peace is dawning;

Lo! the Son of Truth is born!

 

————

 

INVOCATION.

 

O thou source of endless wisdom,

Lord of earth and land Elysian,

We would bathe our weary spirits

In the fullness of thy love.

 

We would drink the healing waters

Flowing from unnumbered altars,—

Altars where no blood-stained offerings

Fill the earth with woe.

 

We would rise redeemed, redeeming,

Losing all our earthly seeming,

In the holy words, forgiveness

Of all earthly sin.

 

We would dwell with saints and sages,

Whose great thoughts have thrilled past ages,

Calling all men to adore thee,

Lord of heaven and earth.

 

Hear our prayer, ye guardian angels;

Be to us as bright evangels,

Bearing our poor sin-stained message

To the throne of love.


 

                               APPENDIX TO PREFACE.                           19

 

INVOCATION.

 

O God of all nations! O light of our souls!

Whose loving hand guides us, whose wisdom controls,

Through the weakness, and darkness, and sorrows of time,

O lead these thy children to soul-heights sublime.

Let us teach them to love thee and serve thee aright,

Never fearing the darkness, yet loving the light;

Never doubting thy presence, ever trusting thy grace,

To give to each soul its true portion and place.

 

And unto thee, O God of our life, be the homage and honor of nations and individuals, forever. Amen.

 

————

 

INVOCATION.

 

O thou, whose love prevaileth

Over all the ills of life,

Whose mercy never faileth

When we are weary of the strife

That comes of human weakness,

By some called human sin,

Whose wisdom opens heaven's gates,

That all may enter in;

We would sing thee glad hosannas,

We would join the earth and air

In their everlasting chorus,

And their one eternal prayer.

For all that life can give us,

For all that hath been given,

For every tear of sorrow,

And every hope of heaven,

We thank thee, O, our God.

 

————

 

INVOCATION.

 

O spirit of mercy, of justice, and love,

O'ershadow thy children—with peace from above;

Let the phantoms of fear, of doubt and despair,

Be lost in the radiance of spiritual air;


 

20                           APPENDIX TO PREFACE.

 

Let the songs of the angels be heard in the skies,

Proclaiming the truth that the soul never dies;

That all things are carefully guarded by thee,

But the soul in its beauty at death is set free.

 

————

 

CHRISTMAS INVOCATION.

 

O God, our God!

Faint and weary are thy children,

Toiling up the steep of time,

Seeking for the Eastern token,

Listening for the morning chime;

Waiting, waiting, ever waiting

For the voice of long ago,

With its soft, melodious accents,

Soothing every human woe.

Know they not the star has risen,

And its glory gilds the earth?

Hear they not the song of angels

O'er this glorious second birth?

"Peace on earth! good will from Heaven!"

Sing that white-robed angel band;

"Peace on earth! good will from Heaven!"

Echoes over all the land.

O thou God of past and present!

O thou light of every soul!

We will chant thee deathless praises

While eternity shall roll.

 

————

 

The following poem, portraying a singular Indian custom, was given through Mrs. J. H. Conant, in the Melodeon, in this city, Sunday evening, March 11, 1866.

 

The poem was composed in spirit-life, and delivered by Metoka, mother of Winona, the subject of the poem, and wife of the sachem Wanandago, whose hunting-grounds, over two hundred years ago, included the territory on which the city of Boston is built, and his wigwam was at the brow of the hill where the State House now stands.


 

                               APPENDIX TO PREFACE.                           21

 

The chairman read a brief legend, furnished by an Indian spirit, which explains the custom that often doomed the fairest daughters of the red man to a cruel fate, as follows:—

 

"The white man has customs; so has the Indian. What the Indian thinks right, the white man thinks wrong. What the white man thinks right, the Indian thinks wrong. Many moons ago, where the white man now hunts his game, the Indian hunted his. Your big books will tell you that. When any two or more tribes were at war, the weaker, after two suns' fasting, would come together in council, led by a sachem, to see what the Great Spirit would tell them to do with their young squaws (for it was the custom of the conquering tribe to make slaves of all the young squaws, killing the old, who should fall into their hands). At the rising of the sun, after the council had been held all night, it was the custom to call the fairest squaw of the tribe and give her the right to choose between death at the hands of her nearest kin, or the risk of being captured and enslaved by the conquering tribe. Her decision was believed to be the voice of the Great Spirit, from which there was no appeal.

 

"Winona, the subject of the simple poem which follows this introductory, was the first-born of the house of Wanandago, who was at the time sachem* of the tribe. The hunting-grounds of this tribe were here, where your many wigwams now stand; and the wigwam of the sachem was at the brow of the hill where your great wigwam of council now stands. When the white man came from over the water, he hunted the Indian's game, and gave him no return. He planted his corn on the sacred mounds of the Indian, and shed no tears—but he gave him his fire-water! And so the Indian grew hot against the white man, and he determined to make war with him. It was then the Great Spirit spoke to Winona, and the arrow of Wanandago sent her to the land of sunshine and clear water, where Metoka, the fair squaw of Wanandago had gone at the coming of Winona."

———

* The word sachem, with the Indian, means prophet, or spiritual leader.


 

22                           APPENDIX TO PREFACE.

 

Then Metoka, in clear tones, poured forth, in sweet, musical cadences, the story of

 

THE INDIAN MAIDEN WINONA.

 

In the sunlight, in the starlight,

In the moons of long ago—

Ere the virgin soil of Shawmut

Quivered 'neath the white man's plow;

 

Ere the great lakes and the rivers

Listened to the white man's song;

Ere the Father of all Waters

Bore them in his strong arms on;

 

On from distant lands and wigwams,

Where the sun from slumber comes,

Where the warriors hear the war-whoop

In the voices of the drums,

 

Lived Winona—child of Nature!

First-born, beauteous, dark-browed maid,

At whose coming fair Metoka,

Where the flowers bloom, was laid.

 

Grew Winona, strong and beauteous,

Fairer than the flowers of spring;

And the echo of her sweet voice

Made the hills and valleys ring.

 

Did the red deer pass her wigwam,

Soon it quivered on the plain –

For the arrow of Winona

Never left its bow in vain!

 

Sixteen times the snow had fallen,

Sixteen times the sun grew dim,

Since the warriors and the maidens Sung

Metoka's funeral hymn.

 

Then the strange voice of the white man

Rang through all our hunting-grounds;

And their swift feet never faltered

When they neared our sacred mounds!


 

                               APPENDIX TO PREFACE.                           23

 

All our game their long guns hunted,

Quickly making it their own;

Heeding not the maiden's sighing,

Fearing not the warrior's frown!

 

Then the voice of Wanandago

Fell in accents soft and low,

Asking, would the fair Winona

To the land of sunlight go?

 

Quick the answer came, like shadows

Filling all his soul with night

"I will go, O mighty sachem,

Where the. sky is always bright;

 

"Where our hunting-grounds are greater;

Where the water's always clear;

Where the spirits of our fathers

Chant the red man's hymn of cheer!"

 

Soon the warriors and the maidens

Sing again their funeral song!

For the spirit of Winona

To the land of light was borne!

 

But to-night she comes to greet you,

Comes in meekness, comes in love;

And with gentle hands would lead you

To that land of light above;

 

Where no white man robs the Indian;

Where no more the sun grows dim;

Where the warriors and the maidens

Chant no more their funeral hymn;

 

In that land where stars are brighter,

Where the moonbeams softly fall,

And the great Manito's blessing

Like the sunlight's over all;

 

There the Indian holds his council,

And his thoughts grow great and strong—

As the angels teach forgiveness

For the white man's fearful wrong.


 

24                           APPENDIX TO PREFACE.

 

Here his tomahawk and arrows

Rest beneath your wigwams grand;

There his soul drinks in the wisdom

Of the glorious spirit-land.

 

Fare you well, ye pale-faced mortals,

Till in council you shall stand

Face to face with fair Winona

In the Indian's Morning-Land.

 

———

 

INDIAN SPIRITS' LEVEE.

 

A pleasant affair took place, a few evenings since, in Watertown, at the residence of Mr. Charles H. Crowell (Kanagawah Lodge—so named by Indian spirit-friends), at present the home of Mrs. J. H. Conant. Shortly after Mrs. Conant located there, her Indian spirit-friends, who have enjoyed the privilege for years of communicating to mortals through her organism, expressed a desire to give some of their' pale-faced" friends a reception at the lodge. Consent being given, the time assigned for the gathering was Friday, August 17, 1866; and a select company of between 50 and 60 ladies and gentlemen responded to the invitation. Shortly after the friends had assembled in the drawing-room, Mrs. Conant was entranced by

Winona, a young Indian girl (subject of the poem given by Metoka, through Mrs. Conant, at the Melodeon last March), who greeted each one of the party in her peculiar manner, and then quietly retired, to give

Starlight, another Indian girl, an opportunity to greet the “pale-faces" present. She was very modest and retiring in her manners, winning the hearts of all. She was known in earth-life as Naonta, and was educated at an English school in Canada. She is said to have been very beautiful. To this spirit was granted the privilege of welcoming the guests, which was gracefully done in the following characteristic Indian style:—


 

                               APPENDIX TO PREFACE.                           25

 

"Pale-faces, Naonta, in behalf of her people, welcomes you to the lodge of the Indians. Their hearts are warm towards you, and their hands are full of blessings. May yours be so towards them. They meet you from the mountains and the valleys, from the lakes and the rivers, and they ask to learn of you, and in turn will teach you much of the great hunting-ground, where you must come when you sleep as they have. When Naonta has gone, Metoka will come, greeting you with her singing talk."

All hearts seemed touched with the simplicity and beauty of this brief address, and evidently wished to hear more from her; but she gave way to the sprightly and loquacious

Spring-flower, who chatted in the liveliest manner with "the squaws and braves" for some time. Then bidding them “good moon," she retired, when the calm and dignified

Metoka, mother of Winona, assumed control, and gave utterance to the following

 

POEM.

 

Like the music of the waters,

Like the sighing of the trees,

Like some soft and gentle whisper

Floating on the evening breeze,

 

Come the dead, the long departed,

To the island of the blest,

Breathing forth unnumbered blessings,

Telling of a land of rest.

 

Not the rest that knows no action,

Like the silence of the tomb,

But the rest that comes from toiling,

Toiling for the yet to come.

 

Come they when your fires are lighted,

Lighted on your wigwam walls,

And their dew of inspiration

Over every spirit falls,—


 

26                           APPENDIX TO PREFACE.

 

Falls like moonlight on the waters,

With a soft and silvery light,

Or like starlight through the shadows,

Robbing of its gloom the night.

 

From the lakes and from the rivers,

Over plains and mountains tall,

Many braves and many maidens

Come in answer to your call.

 

Are they welcome to your wigwam?

Will your kindly greeting fall,

Like your winter's spotless blanket,

Over black, and red, and all?

 

When the Lodge of Kanagawah

Breathes its blessings far and wide,—

Over mountains, over valleys,

Over death's resistless tide,—

 

Then the great Manitou's blessing

Enters at the open door,

And your dead, the long departed,

Fold you in their arms once more.

 

August, 1866.

 

THE STAR OF HOPE.

 

[DEDICATED TO TELULAR,*' THE STAR OF KANAGAWAH LODGE, BY MRS. HEMANS.]

 

Bright star of hope! still let your beams

Of radiant beauty, shine

Upon the enfranchised souls who dwell

Beyond the stream of time.

———

* "Telular" is the name Mrs. Conant received from her Indian spirit-friends. With the Indian it means a something to see by or through. “Kanagawah Lodge" is the name the Indians have given Mrs. Conant's present home at Watertown. "Kanagawah" signifies teacher; and as Mrs. Conant has done much towards enlightening and elevating the Indians, it will be readily perceived that the name is not inappropriate.


 

                               APPENDIX TO PREFACE.                           27

 

O, give to them your hand of love

Across the rolling flood,

And lead them back, through Nature's bowers,

To wisdom and to God.

 

Fling back the shadows by your light,

As Moses smote the rock,

Till every soul within your sphere

Shall feel the mighty shock.

 

Enter within the cypress shade,

And rob it of its gloom,

Gilding with radiance all divine

The portals of the tomb.

 

Stand close beside the parting soul,

Who fears to cross the tide,

Leading beyond all earthly pain,

Where loving friends abide.

 

Strengthen the weak and wounded souls

Who falter in the way,

And lead them back to wisdom's path

By truth's unerring ray.

 

Be thou a guide, a beacon light,

To wanderers on the shore;

And be contented with thy lot

Forever—evermore.

 

So shall your heaven on earth begin

By every deed of love,

While angels sing your song of praise

In worlds of light above.

 

BANNER, August 18, 1866.

 

ANNA CORA WILSON.

 

"BIRDIE," the lovely spirit-daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. B. Wilson, who had manifested several times on previous occasions, after obtaining control of the medium, took up a bouquet of delicate flowers that lay upon the table, and turning


 

28                           APPENDIX TO PREFACE.

 

to her mother, who sat near by, placed her hand on her head, stooped down, and kissing her fervently, said,

 

"'Dear mother, I thank you for these beautiful flowers." She then proceeded to address her in the following touchingly significant lines:

 

"BIRDIE'S" POEM.

 

I sleep not, dear mother, where daisies bloom,

And wild birds warble their hymns of praise;

Where the stars look down through the silent gloom,

And the cypress nods to the passing breeze.

No, no; I am living beyond the tomb,

Where the shadows of time no longer fall,

Where the angel Death has never come,

For eternal life is the gift to all.

Yet I have not left you; I am not dead,

Though a voice is missed from the trio band,—

Though tenantless stands my little bed,

And you miss the clasp of "Birdie's" hand.

I am living, and loving, and waiting for you

In my beautiful home on the other side,

Where legions of angels, with fond hearts and true,

Are waiting for loved ones to cross the tide.

Through the long, dreary hours of sadness and pain,

When your brow with the tempest of fever was tossed,

Your “Birdie" was with you; yes, with you again;

Though the world in its blindness says “Birdie" is lost.

 

———

 

The following lines were addressed to Mrs. L. B. Wilson (Cora's mother), in tones of endearing affection, accompanied with such tender caresses as to give living evidence that the spirit, after leaving its mortal form, retains all its love for those it left on earth:—


 

                               APPENDIX TO PREFACE.                           29

 

A POEM BY “BIRDIE" (ANNA CORA WILSON).

 

Mother, dear mother! from the land of the blest,

Where the earth-weary spirit finds comfort and rest,

I have come with my buds and blossoms so sweet,

And I lay them, as soul-gifts, at your tired feet.

 

Be joyous, dear mother, and banish the clouds,

And linger no longer 'mid cypress and shrouds;

But lift up your eyes to that fair land of rest,

Where Cora, your “Birdie," has builded your nest.

 

———

 

The four following effusions were from "Birdie," through Mrs. Conant—

 

SONG OF THE AUTUMN WIND.

 

I come, I come, my watch to keep

On the cold New England shore –

To diamonds sow where the flowers grew,

And the summer winds sing no more.

 

I wail and I weep where the daisies sleep,

On the graves of your early dead;

And I sing a low song through the tall pine trees,

O'er the soldier's nameless bed.

 

I chant a sad strain, or a wild refrain,

Through every city and town;

And I chase the green leaves from all the trees,

Or I change their greenness to brown.

 

I roar on the mountains, I bind all the fountains,

And enter the poor man's home;

While the babe lies sleeping, and the mother sits weeping,

I join in her cry of alone—all alone!

 

Then I speed away o'er the ocean's spray,

Where the loved and lost are sleeping;

Where Neptune's band, with relentless hand,

Their watch of death are keeping.


 

30                           APPENDIX TO PREFACE.

 

I kiss the pale cheek, in that lone retreat,

While the sea-birds are loudly screaming;

Where life and death have together met,

And the sleeper knows no dreaming.

 

I scatter the snows, as every one knows,

Like a carpet of silver sheen,

And I bind all the streams with glittering chains,

Where once the lilies have been.

 

Farewell! farewell! I go—I go

From the cold New England shore;

For the Winter winds have begun to blow,

And the Autumn leaves fall no more!

 

For, far away, over river and bay,

In my home beyond the sea,

The mild-eyed seal and swift gazelle

Are keeping their watch for me.

 

———

 

BIRDIE'S LAST OF EARTH.

 

Hushed were the voices and muffled the tread

Of kind friends who lingered near “Birdie's" death-bed;

 But they saw not the angels who entered unheard,

And dipped in heaven's chalice the wings of their bird.

 

And they whispered so soft that you heard not a sound—

"Come, Birdie, your wings shall no longer be bound!"

Then, quick as the eagle's eye drinks in the light,

Your Birdie was free from mortality's night.

 

And now from the heights of Eternity's plains,

From the land where Death comes not, and Night never reigns,

Your Birdie returns, on swift pinions of love,

With fresh-gathered buds from her bright home above.

 

When the world, in its coldness, says, "Birdie's dead,"

O tell them, dear mother, I've only been led,

By the hands of the angels, away from the night,

Away from earth's darkness to heaven's clear light.


 

                               APPENDIX TO PREFACE.                           31

 

BIRDIE'S NEST.

 

In the bowers of love supernal

There your Birdie's built her nest,

For the Father's hand eternal

Led her from the earth's unrest.

 

Hear you not my song of gladness,

Swelling o'er life's troubled sea?

Surely then it were but madness,

E'er to mourn my loss to thee.

 

I have gained a deathless morning—

All my mortal woes are o'er,

And the angels now are crowning

Me with gems from heaven's store.

 

Cease your mourning, dearest mother,

Let tears no more for Birdie fall;

God is love—there is no other

And His mercy's over all.

 

When the shades of Death are falling,

And your mortal day is o'er,

And you hear the angels calling

You from earth to our bright shore –

 

Then your Birdie's song of welcome

All your fears shall chase away,

And the bitter buds of morning

Blossom into endless day.

 

November 9, 1863.

 

———

 

BIRDIE'S VIGIL.

 

I am here, dearest mother, though the summer has flown,

And the roses their beauty have shed;

For the world in its blindness determines alone,

That the soul in its freedom, is dead!


 

32                           APPENDIX TO PREFACE.

 

I am here to watch over and keep you from harm,

To guide you from darkness to light;

 I am here, and I'll wait till the morning bells chime,

Proclaiming the end of the night.

 

And then through the bright shining way of the stars,

Where the saints and the angels have trod,

I will lead you away from the earth and its cares,

To the spiritual temple of God.

 


 

 

From Theodore Parker, Sept. 2, 1868.

 

Controlling Spirit.—In answer to a question which has been propounded to us at this place, but has not been answered, a selection will be read by the author, who has been absent from the body of flesh some fourteen years, hoping that it will answer the needs of that sorrowing spirit, and assist her to think in the right direction. The question is this: "Is it right for me, or for any one, to seek to obtain a permanent home on earth?" She further adds, "I have all my life sought for it, but in vain, and I have come to think that it is not right for me to seek longer for a home on earth. Still I am in doubt. O angels, give me light."

 

THE BETTER LAND.

 

" For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come."

Heb. xiii. 14.

 

No city here, no constant habitation

Wherein to lay our throbbing hearts and fears;

No city here, where sorrow and vexation

Can enter not, and bring their weight of cares;

No home of rest, where change can enter never;

No home which time can crumble not away;

No love-wrought ties that death can fail to sever; No spot where darkness follows not the day!


 

214                              FLASHES OF LIGHT

 

We trust in friendship—like the tossing ocean

The waves of time can soon deface the spell;

We trust in love—a word, a look, or motion,

Can bear away the dreams we love so well;

We trust in fame, and find it but a bubble,

Whose tints, when grasped, fade silently away;

We trust in wealth—'tis on a sea of trouble;

It taketh wings and flieth in a day!

 

We have no home, no region free from sorrow –

Poor, houseless wanderers in a desert drear –

No place to call our own, no sweet to-morrow,

Where pleasure comes unsullied by a tear.

No home? no home? On drooping pinion weary,

Like the lone dove that wandered from the ark,

Must we roam on, still sad, unblessed, and dreary,

Without a hope, a day-beam in the dark?

 

Ah, no! ah, no! From heaven's own broad expansion

A spirit whispers, through the shadowy blue,

"The Father has full many a spacious mansion;"

There is a home, a happy home for you –

A home where death and time can never enter;

It stands uncrumbled by the flight of years,

A stream of bliss is glittering in its centre;

'Tis God's own city, unalloyed by tears.

 

There, in that home, no throb of deep dejection

Can check the gladness of the joyful heart;

But sweetly bound in God's own true affection,

Nothing can rend those clinging ties apart.

We have no home on earth, but sadly driven

Adown time's stream, where sorrow leaves a trace,


 

                              FROM THE SPIRIT-LAND.                        215

 

Hope on, sad soul; there is a home in heaven

A constant, firm, and sure abiding-place.

 

Let us not mourn, though life may brine us sorrow;

Soon can we cast aside the cumbrous clay.

We have a hope, a glorious hope to-morrow –

A home in heaven, a home of constant day.

We have no home on earth; then let us sever

Our thoughts from earth and its alluring love,

And list the angel's voice, that whispereth ever,

There is a home of constancy above.