For those not fluent in Steiner, Devachan refers to the time between earth lives spent in what he calls the super-sensible, or non-physical, world. My current research is confirming quite a bit, though not all, of his findings. And even taking a few of them further into the 21st century. Stay tuned.
In Devachan do we see again those who were dear to us? Yes, we see them again, freed moreover from all the obstacles of space and time that here on earth lie like veils over these relationships of the soul. In Devachan, souls confront each other directly. The relationship of soul to soul is far more intimate and inward than it is in the physical world. There can never be any doubt in Devachan about one soul recognizing the other again, even when one of them passes into Devachan before the other. Recognition of loved ones is not particularly difficult there, for each soul bears his inner, spiritual reality inscribed as it were upon his spiritual countenence. He himself proclaims his name, indeed, in a much truer form than is possible here, as the basic tone, which, as it is said in occultism, he represents in the spiritual world. An…
While I allow my body and spirit to heal, I send along Steiner’s thoughts about our connection to the so-called dead. I will continue with my original postings soon but in the meantime…here is where my heart lies.
There is nothing more important for life, even for material life, than the strong and sure realization of communion with the spiritual world.
If modern men had not lost their relationship with spiritual things to such an extent, these grave times would not have come upon us. Only a very few today have insight into this connection, although it will certainly be recognized in the future. Today men think: When a human being has passed through the gate of death, his activity ceases as far as the physical world is concerned. But indeed it is not so! There is a living and perpetual intercourse between the so called Dead and the so-called Living. Those who have passed through the gate of death have not ceased to be present; it is only that our eyes have ceased to see them. They are there in very truth.
It is no coincidence that the title of this blog post is one of Dr. Seuss’ book titles. Dr. Seuss is one of the most brilliant writers of nonsense, in its purest and most classical form. We have done a great disservice to the word and the entire body of writing and thought that pertains to nonsense, or more accurately, unintelligible thought.
This is something I am studying with Dr. Raymond Moody. He is developing his logic of nonsense as a bridge between science and spirituality and also as the way we might actually be able to speak about life after death with any veracity. No doubt Dr. Moody’s work is on the leading edge and therefore not many yet understand its value. However, I am honored to be one who is happy to travel this road with him and will report back to you my findings.
When I think back, it was a Dr. Seuss book, “Horton Hears a Who” that first gave me a glimpse of cosmic consciousness. Read in my early 20s, R and I literally felt our minds exploding with the concept of worlds within worlds within worlds. So I can vouch for the value of nonsense as a vehicle of transcendence.
Perhaps my background in professional theatre also laid the groundwork for my acceptance of nonsense as a valuable tool for communication. Most certainly my mystical and occult studies are rife with what would be considered nonsense…so I find myself rather comfortable with Dr. Moody’s contentions. It is still hard work the mind must do…but I am not in totally unfamiliar territory.
It has been my feeling that part of my work with the Community of Spirits is to discover the synthesis between Rudolf Steiner and Raymond Moody’s work. So in a delightful bit of synchronicity, I read in Steiner’s small book “Reincarnation and Karma” where he basically states that much of what he talks about is considered nonsense to most people. By Dr. Moody’s definition, it is nonsense, and that is NOT a bad thing. Later Steiner relates a conversation where a gentleman quite familiar with Steiner’s work says to him that everything Steiner reports is perfectly logical to his mind and he saw no reason why it was necessary to access the supersensible worlds in the manner Steiner advocates. Logic alone should be the pathway. To this Steiner replies that while he must use language to describe his supersensible experiences and he does so as logically as possible, it is impossible to enter the supersensible world though logic. I got chills reading this…as there was the confirmation I needed that indeed Dr. Steiner and Dr. Moody’s work will weave together.
While that is the major focus of my work, I will also, with Dr. Moody’s tutelage explore more deeply the ancient Greek’s relationships with and oracles of the dead. I will go to his home in November to experience and explore his Psychomanteum, inspired by the ancient techniques used for 2500 years at the Oracle of the Dead in Ephyra Greece. This technique is one of bringing the dead to us, not something I am positive Dr. Steiner would approve of but one I will explore nevertheless.
Along with Steiner’s work, I will also work with techniques, perhaps some Kabbalistic or Shamanic in nature, where I will attempt going across the threshold to where the dead reside. Oh the places you’ll go!
That is where I am at and where I am heading. It’s all open to intuitive guidance so things can and will change as I make my way. I invite you most warmly to come along!
Finally, I want to leave you with a quote from Steiner that I think it appropriate to our task:
“Spiritual science requires a more thorough, intensive kind of thinking than most modern academics are capable of accomplishing. And the fear of having to learn something, of developing a greater capacity, is what creates a hindrance to them doing so. The fear of difficult ideas and concepts erects obstacles for them.”
In honor of the vow taken in a previous post, we work our way back to Rudolf Steiner’s processes for serving the dead. A while back I referenced a book written by a modern Anthroposophist, Lynn Rollins Stull. In her book, “Wonders at the Veil,” she shares her 18 years plus experience using Steiner’s methods for this important act of service. I agree when she says how one chooses to serve will be highly individual but she offers suggestions and ideas that she discovered along the way as a starting point. Her work with color as nourishment for the dead inspired me and the following meditation on color and sound is the result I now offer to you.
I come from the Hermetic Kabbalah Western Mystery School tradition. My teacher, Jungian Analyst Joseph Lee, works very deeply with the powers of color and sound. Now, he always cautions us that whatever we put out into the world, we are then responsible for the consequences. Therefore, I am keeping this meditation very basic. There are additional layers that could be added if the Community of Spirits reaches the stage of actualizing to a point where I know and have more direct contact with members. As it is now…I do not know exactly who is receiving this information. So to be prudent, for the time being, I am keeping it simple, yet I believe, effective.
We will work with the border colors of the Major Arcana of the Tarot as adept Paul Foster Caseenvisioned it. These colors were not randomly chosen and each one sends out a specific psycho-spiritual frequency. I will not go further into it than this but know the colors are chosen for a good reason. The easiest thing to do is to go the Fraternity of the Hidden Light’s store and purchase their color cards. These are created with the exact correct hue we want to project to our beloved dead.
Focus your attention of each color card for at least a minute, drinking it in. Then for the next minute as you continue to focus on the color card, imbue the color with pulsating love and project it to your beloved dead, knowing that it is spiritual nourishment. Chant “OM” on a note that is comfortable for you while sending the loved charged color across the threshold. Do this with each card.
Depending on time, you may choose to send all of the colors each time or break them into groups and send them a few at a time but be sure that ultimately you send all of the colors. Even one color a day sent with great potency and love would be a beautiful gift to your loved one in the supersensible realm. The more real you make the internal imagery of seeing your loved one actually receiving the color, the more you feel the bond of love vibrating between you, the more nourishing it will be.
If you choose to experiment with this act of service, I would love to hear of your experiences with it. You can post them below in the comments section or email them me at Joellyn@communityofspirits dot org.
Before we resume our study of Rudolf Steiner’s work with the dead, I want to share something with you. Recently, I spent a weekend at a spiritual retreat conducted by my Kabbalah teacher of many years, Jungian Analyst Joseph Lee. Every retreat is powerful and profound but his closing statements this time were so potent and so timely…I feel bound to share, to the best of my ability, his thoughts.
I have mentioned it before but will state it again; we are at a tipping point on this planet. Almost everyone can feel, in their own way that we as a species cannot continue as we are for much longer. The earth cannot tolerate our abuse, our hatred, our avarice, our fear. Radical change is called for. It will come either with our help or it will be forced upon us…but change will occur.
Those in the discarnate realms – angelic beings, ascended masters, teachers and guides and those beloved dead who have evolved to a certain point, are clamoring for our help…and for us to allow them to help through us.
Those who are called to serve as conduits for the Light are needed so very badly to step up and claim our inheritance as children of the Divine. We cannot be shy or falsely humble. We can and must offer ourselves up, no matter what the cost, to be fashioned as unobstructed channels for Divine Fire to flow from the super-sensible worlds to the earth. Those who make this offering are given an unprecedented opportunity for spiritual growth in this incarnation.
The service we offer in the Community of Spirits is part of the vanguard. Rudolf Steiner says service to the dead and knowing what comes in the life between death and rebirth is the most important work there is. While I know there is work of equal importance, this is where my heart is. If you find your heart here too…please join us. Place a comment of commitment at the bottom of the post to become, to the best of your ability, a conduit for the descent of Divine Fire. This commitment is not to me but to you and to the higher realms. Together we will build a bridge between the so-called living and the so-called dead, helping the unrealized potential of the most evolved beings from the angelic realms to flow down through us into the world. For it is desperately needed both here and there. I take this vow. Will you join me?
Life has me running the gauntlet, making it very hard to write Part 2 of Pilgrimage to the Oracles of Greece. I will write it but in the meantime, I wanted to leave you this quote from Rudolf Steiner about death. He is our foremost guide and I am reading this book of his now.
“Death is something that most distinctly has two totally different aspects. Regarded here from the physical world it certainly has many sad aspects, many painful sides. However, here we really only see death from the one side; after our death we see it from the other. It is then the most satisfying and most perfect occurrence that we can possibly experience, for there is it a living fact. Whereas here death is a proof of how frail and transitory the human physical life is- when seen from the spiritual world it is actually a proof that the spirit continually wins the victory over everything non-spiritual that the spirit is ever the life, the eternal, ever-unconquerable life.” Rudolf Steiner – Spiritual Life Now and after Death (page 9).
In preparing for our journey to Greece, I spent many hours with Dr. Raymond Moodywho is an expert in Ancient Greek philosophy and the oracles. Up until the time of Aristotle, the Greeks did not believe in the gods or in speaking with the dead, they knew how to speak with the dead and had direct contact with the Gods. This coincides with Rudolf Steiner’s theory of the development of consciousness. He posited that up until the time of what he refers to as the Greco-Roman period, man had the ability to relate directly to the gods and the so-called dead via the subconscious mind, which was predominant. It is sometimes referred to as “Aristotle’s fault” and the development of logic, that we slowly lost that ability; something Steiner insists was a necessary part of our evolving as a species. It was my intention to visit as many of these oracles as possible during our visit and soak up as much energy and inspiration as possible for our work together.
I’ll start with the tree oracle of Dodona. Please visit the link provided to get the history of this hauntingly beautiful place. First, Dr. Moody told me that it would be impossible to visit that spot as it is so far northeast, almost to Albania, that most tours never went that far. It certainly wasn’t a destination on this tour. But as I discovered over and over during our journey, we were guided and aided in doing some rather impossible things. However, as in ancient times, it seemed that a sacrifice must be made. For us to make the pilgrimage to Dodona, we had to sacrifice our time on Corfu.
It took us twelve hours on a bus and two hours on a ferry to make the leg from Olympia to Corfu in one day. I had reservations about touring in the first place, not sure that my nervous system or physical body could handle the rigors and the intensity of pace touring requires. Well…I was right. While in a paradise of beautiful landscapes, magnificent food, and mesmerizing stories of Greek mythology and history, I was in physical agony the entire time. Once we reached Corfu, I had to drop off the tour and just walk gently around Corfu City to try and heal my body and nerves. The morning started off unseasonably cool with light rain. As the day went on, it got colder and began pouring. By early afternoon, the weather was so untenable; we headed back to our hotel to dry out. Before doing that, my husband bought a complete map of Greece.
While I was using a blow dryer to dry out our sodden clothes, he studied the map. “Joellyn,” he said, “our next stop is Ioannina. That is about 14 miles from Dodona.” What? Are you kidding me? There is no way, no way, I can be this close to one of the most important ancient oracles and not get there. I’ll never be here again. I cannot miss it no matter what.
On the ferry back to the mainland the next day, still in a torrential downpour, I speak with our guide Efi about how to make a trip to Dodona happen for Richard and me. She was very moved that this meant so much to me as even the Greeks have begun to forget about the oracles. She was a genius guide and sure enough, the turnoff to Dodona is only one mile out of their way. They will drop us off at the sacred site with an hour to visit before a taxi will come to bring us back to where our group would be having lunch.
“Are you sure, “Efi asked, “you want to do this? It is pouring down rain.” “Yes,” I answered,” I don’t care what the weather is, I have to be here.” “Okay,” she replied, “The taxi will arrive in one hour.” We paid our entrance fee and stepped upon this hallowed ground. And…
…the rain…stopped. It stopped for the entire hour we were there. Unlike the more popular tourist sites, we had Dodona all to ourselves. Like the petitioners of old, I made my way to the sacred Oak in my bare feet. The earth icy cold and soaked, clouds blanketing the mountains, kissing the earth.
The ancients would inscribe their question to the oracle, a sacred Oak tree (first the mother Goddess Gaia, later to be taken over by Zeus), on a lead tablet. The priestesses (later priests) would take the tablets to the tree. The answers would come from the song of the tree, the sound of the birds, the flowing music of the waters. Nature…everything was nature and that is what I felt there, the power and the vibrancy of Nature herself. I stood as close to the sacred oak (a newer one as the Romans destroyed with original) as possible, closed my eyes and sunk deeply into the energy of this mystical place. The energy behind my eyes was intense; very fast back and forth movement. I heard the call of birds, the sound of the wind. I’m not even sure I posed a question and if I did what the answer was…at least not until much later.
We reverently made our way past the theatre and back to the entrance, our hour over, to wait for the taxi. A stray female dog appeared out of nowhere. Greece has many, many stray dogs and cats, since the “crisis.” Though the people there are much kinder to their strays, banding together to vaccinate them, spay and neuter them, feed them. They are very friendly and this one came right up to me, thin though not starving, shivering from the cold and wanting to be petted which I was more than happy to oblige. I felt this dog, this beautiful creature of nature, was part of my “answer.” But again, what did she mean? I found out later.
The taxi arrived, the dog vanished, and we headed back to rejoin our group. As soon as the taxi pulled away, it began to pour once more, raining without stop for the rest of the day.
As I said, we were guided and aided in making this impossible visit happen. I am still processing what I brought with me from Dodona, but I can say it feels foundational to all the other oracles…so ancient, so pulsing with Life. And…as much as I would have loved to truly see the beautiful island of Corfu, it was a worthy sacrifice.
We have returned from our sojourn to Greece. And what an odyssey it was. Many miraculous happenings I am still processing. Inspiration unfolds. Before I can post about the many sites of significance to our purpose, I need a bit of time to heal. The intensity of the touring process was far more grueling for my nervous system and body than I even anticipated. But…I will post…soon on the many sites of the ancient oracles we encountered…and how that may influence our work together. In the meantime, these thoughts of Steiner’s seem to capture the essence of what I discovered for myself in Greece.
You must remind yourselves that as well as living through his life here between birth and death, man passes again and again through the life between death and a new birth. Just as here on earth we have experiences through the instrumentality of our body, we also have experiences between death and a new birth, and these experiences are by no means without significance for what we do during our earthly existence in the physical body. But neither are they without significance for what happens on earth as a whole.
For only part — and indeed the rather lesser part — of what happens on the earth originates from those who are living in the physical body. The dead are perpetually working into our physical world. The forces of which man is unwilling to speak to-day in the age of materialism are nevertheless at work in the physical world. Our…
Soon I will begin a sort of spiritual pilgrimage and so I leave you with this fifth and final piece of Steiner’s thoughts on Death. Of course there is much, much more…and we will slowly sift though much of it. Upon returning in a couple of weeks, I hope to share with you a deepening understanding of how our ancestors communicated freely with the gods and their beloved dead. It is time, now, with a fully functioning conscious mind, to re-establish that communication. That is our work here in the Community of Spirits. Talk to you soon…
So when, for example, you experience after death the pain of another man through having caused him pain on earth, you say to yourself at once: ‘If I did not feel this pain, I would remain an imperfect human soul, for the pain I have caused in the universe would continually take something from me. I only become a whole human being by experiencing this compensation.’
It may cost us a struggle to see that pain experienced after death in return for pain caused to another, is really a blessing. It will depend on the inner constitution of our soul whether we find this difficult or not; but there is a certain state of soul in which this painful compensation for many things done on earth is even experienced as bliss. It is the state of soul that results from acquiring on earth some knowledge of the super-sensible life. We…
The Community of Spirits grows both on the incarnate and discarnate side. It was inspired and co-founded by my first husband R. My brother, parents and many friends, far too many friends, are members on the spirit side. Slowly we grow on the physical side. But at this time, there is only one person I have had the distinct honor of companioning as a death midwife over the threshold of death, into the “super-sensible” realms, as Rudolf Steiner would call it, and into the Community of Spirits.
I knew B for about ten years. She was a member of the spiritual community that my Kabbalah teacher and Jungian Analyst Joseph Leecreated. A fiery and dedicated student of the spirit, B was a Reiki Master and Light worker extraordinaire. She was also a fierce supporter of my work both in death midwifery and in the forming of the Community of Spirits.
Sometime last fall, she was diagnosed with end stage lung cancer….and we began the dance….phone calls, checking in, as she lived quite a distance from me. Chemo treatments failed. Hospice was engaged.
B was, if anything, independent and determined to live life and face death on her own terms. It is my experience that people die the way they live and so it was with B.
She stayed in her home, refusing most of the home care hospice offers, instead engaging the aid of her devoted twin sister and several dear friends. Together they formed her 24 hour a day care team. The demands of caretakers at home are tremendous and they each ceaselessly performed a hero’s job. She refused to take much in the way of pain medication, morphine, as she wanted to be as conscious as possible. As we spoke on the phone (she actually felt more comfortable having the aid of a death midwife long distance. Being physically present made her feel some kind of implied obligation to die quickly. No B, my love, not at all, not at all, but I honored her feelings and maintained my vigil mostly by phone.) I explained to her that it was her choice, her right, not to use morphine but with that choice came the price of more suffering. Morphine helps the patient breathe more easily, relaxes, softens and allows the body to do what it needs to do. I reminded her that at any time, if it became too much for her, the morphine was there to help her. As I said earlier, we die the way we live. B lived hard, full force with no brakes and her death would be the same, no gentle going into that dark night.
However, because B chose to remain conscious and being an extremely intelligent and articulate person, she could validate for me so many things I learned at the bedside of those considered in an “unresponsive” state. As she drew closer to the threshold of death, she became more and more sensitive, not less. The sound of most voices was too loud. Arguments or harshness of tones scorched her like fire. On the one visit she “allowed” me, she confided that she was in agony at night because she could hear the cries of the world and felt helpless to soothe them. Having heard those cries myself at times; I understood her suffering and met her there to help her bear it….for that is what a death midwife does.
Though Hospice provided her with a hospital bed on the first floor of her home, she refused to use it, calling it her “death bed.” Instead she took an hour to slowly and painfully make her way up the spiral staircase, with the aid of her sister, to lie in her own bed, the two of them curled up together, telling stories, sharing memories…laughing, raging, crying. Birth and death are two sides of the same coin; her labor into the spiritual realms was a very difficult and protracted one, for her and for her beloved sister and friends.
Each day on the phone, first with B then with her identical twin, I would check in, allowing each of them to express without judgment, any and all emotions each was having at the time. And there was a whirlwind of them. The dance deepened as her sister shared with me that B was now at times sitting in a trance for long periods of time…visiting the other shore as death midwives have witnessed from times immemorial. Then began the poetry of symbolic language, “I’d like to just throw open the door and go running out into the woods in the snow.” How many times have I heard that mode of expression, the desire to leave…to go…home?
To the very end, B was creative and caring – staring out her window writing what she called “cancer induced haikus,” then using some of her last strength to talk a suicidal person “off the ledge.”
The day before B died, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning realizing I had been holding my breath for a very long time. I couldn’t breathe just like B couldn’t breathe and felt terrible that whole day. We spoke for the last time that afternoon. Or, more accurately, I spoke because she no longer could. She could only hold the phone to her ear, gasping for air and listen as I told her I loved her, that she would be okay no matter what…and that I would talk to her again tomorrow.
The next morning, I woke up around 4:40am as I usually do and felt a tremendous lightness in my chest – all the discomfort and heaviness of the day before simply…gone…and such…freedom. A short while later, I got the phone call from B’s sister telling me that at 4:45am, B died surrounded by two very close friends. She waited for her twin to go home to rest for just a bit, before leaving. B wanted to spare her adored twin the moment of her death…an act of love I have seen countless times.
I found out after her death that B wanted me to officiate her life celebration. Though I am a minister, my ministry has been strictly focused on serving the dying, not doing funerals or life celebrations…so this was a bit of a shock to me. I was driving and trying to figure out all the things needed to make the life celebration happen and to continue supporting B’s sister in her grief, not at my most focused while driving. Now you need to know that B was a very funny woman, hysterical at times…boy could we laugh! And she was, shall we say, ribald. As I swerved to miss a car while merging onto the interstate, I actually heard B in my head laughing and saying, “Now that would be f**king ironic for you to get yourself killed worrying about my celebration!” I laughed out loud for I knew that was B. That was B, alive and vibrant and still hysterical and irreverent.
We held her life celebration this past Saturday April 30, 2016. It was quite beautiful I think. Her sister gave me several lovely gifts…but the loveliest one of all is B’s sister herself. I don’t have a sister but I think B is lending me hers for the time being. That is a gift I treasure.
After the celebration was over and my husband was pulling into the hotel parking lot for us to spend the night before heading home, I felt a huge flush of warmth in my heart…tears welled up in my eyes. I felt the deepest wave of gratitude and heard B say, “Thank you.” Oh B, you are so welcome. And welcome to the spiritual realm of the Community of Spirits. I will read to you, along with my others, at night. I will watch over your sister. Rest easy…let me know what you are up to…and if you can…keep me laughing.