The copyright notices in earlier editions indicate the book was first published in 1894. The preface states that it was written in California between 1884 and 1886 by Frederick S. Oliver under the spirit guidance of Phylos, who after many earthly lives now works in and from the higher realms.
The work is a fascinating account of the two most significant incarnations of Phylos and his nearest companions, showing by these "case histories" the action of the law of Karma, "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap", both good and bad. The laws of the Spiritual Universe, whereby humans are rewarded for their good deeds, and move toward the ultimate elimination of evil by working out the consequences of their had actions, are shown in their slow but unfailing application to individuals. The book is replete with explanations of such problems as the atonement, forgiveness of sins, the "spiritual mechanics" of physical death and of life in the successively expanding post-mortem conditions. Certain episodes will be particularly enlightening to readers who have been led by Jesus's words, "before Abraham was, I am", to ponder on the relation of the Timeless Christ to the inhabitants of the earth before His manifestation in Judea.
The swiftly moving story paints an absorbing picture of the customs and daily life in the heyday of a great Atlantean culture, when they utilized scientific knowledge which the present world is just now regaining.
The successive life histories narrate, first the short but brilliant career of Zailm Numinous, born about thirteen thousand years ago in a family of Atlantean mountaineers; and second the final incarnation of the same soul as Walter Pierson in time to fight in the American Civil War, to mine gold in the Mount Shasta region in the late 1860s, and at last to die in a shipwreck off Bermuda about 1880. This was four years before he began the writing of this book through the hand of Mr. Oliver. Many intermediate life-times are omitted.
A courageous and ambitious youth, Zailm, after early gaining a fortune in a mining enterprise, attracts the attention of the emperor, wins his way into the highest court circles, and while yet in his twenties is entrusted with a delicate diplomatic mission. Success in this puts him in line for appointment as Viceroy of an important distant kingdom  brought into the Atlan empire, but before entering on his duties he is to wed the emperor's niece, Anzimee. The brilliant wedding is interrupted by the entrance of Zailm's mistress, Lolix, herself a young woman of sufficiently high social position to have been a suitable wife. Zailm had deceived her into believing that her foreign birth was a bar to marriage. The fact that she had born him children had been well concealed, and her great devotion led her to agree to his marriage to Anzimee, although her heart was broken. But her mind gives way under the grief and she goes distraught to the temple. There in a highly dramatic scene she attempts to stab Zailm and herself, that they may be united in death. Furious at the disruption of the ceremony, Mainin, the high priest, fatally curses Lolix, turning her into stone on the spot.
For many weeks Zailm wanders aimlessly about, suffering intense remorse. At last he falls into a trance, during which he finds Lolix in the spirit world, carrying in her arms the bloody ghost of her second child, whom she had killed for Zailm's sake. Although Zailm had been unaware of his second infant, he assumes full responsibility for the destruction of its physical life. His bitter and sincere repentance for his duplicity to Lolix, with his willingness to take upon himself the burden of her guilt, bring both to a spiritual awakening wherein they perceive Christ present with them. After telling them that in a far distant day they will be given opportunity to make amends for their sins He releases Lolix to realms of peace, while Zailm returns to the duties of the world.
Recovering mental and physical health, Zailm leads a small expedition to what is now known as South America in search of gold mines to enhance the imperial revenues. Away from his party he gets entrapped in an ancient tunnel where he perishes miserably of thirst and hunger. As he lies dying the high priest, Mainin, materializes before him, taunts him, and tells him that his entrapment resulted from the priest's hypnotic influence, and that both his approaching death and the turning of Lolix to stone are mere incidents in Mainin's design to thwart the humanitarian projects of the Atlan emperor. The fact that Mainin, under cloak of his office, had long been secretly a worker with the forces of evil, was unknown to the emperor until the spectacular death of Lolix.
Intoxicated by his success in undoing Zailm, Mainin boasts that there is no God; but at this moment the Christ appears, denounces the high priest as one who knowing the good had nevertheless chosen the path of evil to gain personal power. The Christ blasts the priest out of the stream of human spiritual progress, and then bids Zailm sleep in peace for a time.
Zailm awakes first to experiences showing the relation of the physical, the psychic and the spiritual planes. Then the psychic fades after the physical and he enters scenes like those of his boyhood, surrounded by the best aspects of the wholesome, rugged mountaineer life. His surroundings gradually increase in complexity and his experiences gain spiritual depth, all based on a working over and assimilation of  whatsoever things were honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report in his last earth life. After the good is absorbed into the soul's basic nature -- to manifest as character in the next incarnation -- desire to use the enhanced spiritual powers for the good of the world attracts the soul to birth in another body of such parentage, in such time and place as will afford opportunity to undo past ill actions by countervailing good deeds, and to add to the sum total of good in the world.
Not every span of earth life is directly keyed to the previous one. Often many life-times devoted to the development of character along other lines intervene before occasion can be found for balancing the account. So Phylos is silent as to the many earth lives between that of Zailm in Atlantis and the coming to birth as Walter Pierson about 1840. This is the last time before joining the ranks of those who "go no more out" (Rev. 3:12).
As Pierson, in the United States, he is placed in circumstances where he can and does rectify the grievous errors of that Atlantean incarnation. The forgiveness received thirteen millenniums earlier had blotted out the memory of his sins -- Christ then as now saved the repentant sinner from carrying such a millstone about his neck -- and had worked slowly to bring him to birth contemporaneously with significant companions of that distant past, so that life could afford him opportunity to make restitution. The sinner must pay his own debts, but the love of Christ gives him, so to speak, the earning power.
Zailm had been diligent in mining and geology in the early part of his career; so, as Pierson, mining again brings him prosperity in gold fields of California. A higher concept of unselfish service has replaced the intense ambition of Zailm.
Although he never again on earth sees his true love, the former Anzimee, he meets Elizabeth, Lolix of old, now outcast of a good family, sinking into a degraded life in a mining town. In a completely unselfish way he makes it possible for her to rehabilitate herself in other surroundings, but thereafter loses sight of her for several years. At length they meet again, marry, and are again parents of two children. Whereas in Atlantis their relation had been sub-rosa, and their children not cherished, now all is open and honest, the children dearly loved; but disregard of those children ages ago is balanced now by their early death, to the intense sorrow of the parents.
In the course of his career Pierson comes under the influence of spiritual teachers, sometimes in unexpected guise, and is benefited by many instances of leading and protection. One lesson he learns which might well be taken to heart by aspirants who complain that their mundane environment keeps them from devoting more time to higher pursuits. His guide takes him to the planet Venus -- hence the title of the book -- for a stay in the advanced and happy conditions of life there, in company of many he had known and loved on earth, and who had progressed further than he on the path of enlightenment. In a short time Pierson discovers that he is not content in this realm of perfect happiness; he is like a grade school pupil allowed to visit college, at first delighted with the freedom, but soon finding that he is not yet ready to take part in that more advanced life.
Nevertheless his time on Venus is highly profitable. On the material side the Venusians introduce him to much in science and technology half a century or more in advance of anything known on earth. On the spiritual side they teach him great truths. The actual experiences are forgotten upon his return to earth, but his character is purified and strengthened.
After further work and tests, both in our everyday world and on higher planes, Pierson attains that illumination which enables him to graduate from the school of human life, so that after his death he becomes Phylos, one of the "men beyond mankind".
For more than half a century "A Dweller On Two Planets" has helped and enlightened readers interested in the workings of spiritual law. Serious students reading the book for the first time will find here "a text to aid the thinker to perceive". More casual readers may take it merely as an absorbing fantasy, telling a gripping story of occurrences both in and out of this world. All who are interested in the relating of the things of the spirit to the things of the flesh will find here abundant food for thought, whether they regard the narrative as fiction or fact.
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The present publishers of "Phylos, Dweller on Two Planets" are DeVorss & Co., 516 W Ninth St., Los Angeles 15, California. The book can be purchased directly from them for $7.50 a copy, better include another 25¢ for sales tax and postage. Phylos has made a notable contribution to Western occult literature, written by an American, in the American language, for the American mind! For these reasons it is far and away superior to anything dredged up for us from the metaphysical abracadabra of the Orient. The existence of the Lodge of the Masters in Mt. Shasta is also highly significant, in that it indicates the existence of a Mystery Tradition here in California going directly back to Atlantean times and probably earlier! This also indicates that points of contact with the Inner Planes have long been established here and the sincere occult student doesn't have to traipse off to Europe, the Near East or the Orient for initiation. This apparently was proven by Max Heindel with his Rosicrucian Fellowship here at Oceanside.
- Oliver, Frederick S. A Dweller on Two Planets, Or, the Dividing of the Way. Los Angeles: Baumgardt Pub. Co., 1905. Print. [Reprints by Borden Pub. Co.: 1942 ed., <http://amzn.to/1nuMVwr>; 1980 ed., <http://amzn.to/Lx74Ps> — Digital: <http://sacred-texts.com/atl/dtp/>]