Shirley, Ralph - The Angel Warriors at Mons 13 – The gods become visible to the heroes whose causes they espouse
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
THE ANGEL WARRIORS AT MONS [continued]
One important point is inevitably raised with regard to these apparitions on the European battlefields. They have this in common, with many similar apparitions — that is they are not seen alike by all witnesses. Where one sees St. George another sees St. Michael, and a third Joan of Arc. Were all three of these heroes of the past actually present on the battlefield, or indeed were any of them ?
Even assuming that we accept the authenticity of the visions, we are not, I think, called upon to say that they were. Spirit is plastic. May we not rather say that it is Protean ?
It is clothed upon by the imagination of the beholder to an almost limitless extent. In a further account of Miss Phyllis Campbell's which she gave to the editor of the Evening News, she relates how a soldier of the Irish Guards, an enormous man who stood over six feet five inches, told her, narrating his own experiences, that " St. George was in golden armour, bareheaded, and riding a white horse."
He cried " Come on ! " as he brandished his sword. Why, we may ask, was St. George in golden armour ? Doubtless because the Irish guardsman had seen him most recently on the back of a sovereign. Here also he is brandishing a sword. The apparitions which created such a sensation in the South of France a few months before the outbreak of war had the same tendency to vary according to the temperament of the beholder. Here, too, Joan of Arc was seen (among others) and foretold the fact that she was the harbinger of a great war, by making stars appear from out of a clouded sky at the request of the village cure.
Who can doubt that if a Theosophist had been present at the retreat of Mons he would have witnessed an apparition of one of the Mahatmas, just as the Russian soldiers saw the phantom of General Skobeleff ? The gods of ancient days, according to classical story, became visible to the heroes whose causes they espoused, in the guise of mortal men. The radiant forms of the spiritual hierarchies can easily be made manifest to mortal eye in a form which the beholder can interpret. The spirit champion of British arms inevitably takes the form of St. George. He comes in the spirit and power of St. George to do St. George's work, and thus the British soldier interprets his spiritual leaders in terms of the ancient traditions of his race.