For my second double mirror gazing experience with Raymond Moody, he chose a travel narrative piece of nonsense (which is self-explanatory as it conveys a sense of traveling) to carry us over the threshold and into the mirror. We decided we would have no particular agenda for this trip; we would just see what happened.
Again, piggy backing off Raymond’s considerable experience and energy for this work, I easily entered, or more accurately, was absorbed by the mirror and found myself nose to trunk with a giant and old elephant.
“I will take you through the nephesh,” he told me. “You’ll be safe with me.” He picked me up and placed me gently upon his back. I should explain for those not familiar with the Kabbalah, nephesh refers to the level of soul related to the lower astral and the sephira Yesod. It is also known as the animal soul. There are four or five levels of soul in the Kabbalah depending on the school of thought one follows. The nephesh can be the most problematic as it encompasses the more primitive aspects of man and animal.
We traveled deep into the jungle until we entered a clearing. Here I saw the whole family of this ancient elephant gathered in a circle around a dead bull lying in the center upon the ground.
“Please grieve with us,” the lead elephant asked. “We know you are one whose task it is to feel what others cannot or will not. Grieve his death with us. Poachers killed him for his ivory tusks. We know you know how to grieve. Please help us to grieve his loss.”
I cried with them. Moaned and swayed my body in sync with them. Their trumpeting cries scored my heart with pain. When they felt their grieving complete, the lead elephant asked me to guide their dead brother across the threshold to the other side of life. Once again, he picked me up, and then gently placed me upon the back of the dead elephant whose soul now stood ready for his next journey.
Slowly together, we made our way to a bridge and crossed it. We went as far together as I was able to go, then he gently used his trunk to place me on the ground. He thanked me and made the rest of the journey on his own, as I turned, made my way back over the bridge, back into the nephesh and once more found the circle of elephants that was his family. They stood waiting for me.
“Please,” said the head elephant, “you have always known we have souls, we have emotions. You know that we grieve and mourn the loss of our loved ones just as you do. Some of your kind try to help us. They dye our tusks pink to render them useless to the poachers. Please tell them to do this more and more quickly or soon we will be no more.”
Initially after this mirror gazing experience, I thought it was unrelated to the first one and the others yet to come. Now, however, I understand the relationship and purpose of the experience and am humbled by it. What a blessing, what a gift, to cry with the elephants.