To B

 

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Fiery student of the Spirit

 

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 Lee created. 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.

 

 

OMTimes Radio Interview

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Here is a link to the radio show I did with Allaya Frisch this past Sunday. I really enjoyed talking with her and the time did, as she promised, fly by. However, she is a great supporter of my work and I think it is very likely we’ll get together again to talk more about the Community of Spirits and my work with Dr. Raymond Moody. Be sure to scroll to the bottom where the comments section is. That is where all my contact info is placed. I hope you will share.

Newsflash!

newsboyAs I continue to undergo tests and therapies to bring my health back up to par, I wanted to tell you about two things. First, this Sunday, April 17th at 2pm EST, I will be interviewed by Linda Frisch for OMTimes Radio. We will be talking about the art of death midwifery, the founding of this community, the Community of Spirits and one more very exciting and for me, monumental, occurrence. If the time is not convenient, the show will be taped and archived so you can listen at a time that better suits you. I will provide a link to that when it becomes available.

Now for the second piece of news. I have said many times that I am stepping forward into this place of building a bridge between the so-called living and the so-called dead without having a clear picture of exactly where this is all heading or how it will unfold. Previously I mentioned that by following the nudges from my inner guides and teachers, I was led to take an online course with Dr. Raymond Moody. For those who are not familiar with him, Dr. Moody, with nearly 50 years of experience in the field, is regarded as the grandfather of the modern day near death experience, coining the very term “near death experience.” He is an MD, psychiatrist and has a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a special interest in ancient Greek philosophy, a brilliant teacher and scholar.

I am in the midst of taking his course and know this will become part of the foundation, along with Rudolf Steiner’s work, of the Community of Spirit’s work to come. I am enjoying his course tremendously and have been telling my inner guides that I need to make a connection with this man. I need to make a connection with this man.

And here is the amazement. As my spiritual teacher promises, if one will step forward to be used in service to the Light that one will be provided for sustained and nourished from the inner planes. A few days ago, an opportunity to have a Skype session with Dr. Moody appeared out of virtually nowhere. I jumped at the chance, sending my email with a bit of background on myself and how I felt Dr. Moody’s tutelage would be of inestimable value.

Well…Dr. Moody has agreed to mentor me privately. He will not only take me through this course I am currently taking but far beyond that over the months ahead. His generosity of spirit and passion for teaching overwhelms me and I am still pinching my cheeks to convince myself this is really happening. Our first session together was more than I could ever hope for and that is only the beginning.

What I will learn from Dr. Moody will be a catalyst of discovery for our growing community. I will share with you, as I learn and we will all grow together.

His knowledge of the ancient Greeks, who up until Aristotle knew the Gods, talked with the Gods, will dove tail with Steiner’s belief that consciousness changed during the Greco-Roman period, and our ready access to the spiritual world changed. There is a portal there, one that both Dr. Moody and Steiner will help me find and cross through, bringing back some of the wisdom from the inner planes we so desperately need today.

I am beyond humbled and honored that Dr. Moody as accepted me as his mentee and will strive to be a worthy student. Definitely more to come…

A Brief View of Mediumship

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(Continuing the test of brainwave entrainment, I am listening to Lambda frequency while writing this.)

Before I delve deeply into the work of Rudolf Steiner as a seeding and inspiration for the foundation of the Community of Spirits, I wish to share a bit with you about my beginning studies into Mental Mediumship.

From both Steiner and my Kabbalistic background, there are great proscriptions against the use of mediumship as a means of speaking with the dead. Blending one’s energy with the dead was considered black magic by Paul Foster Case, a great adept of the Hermetic Kabbalah. Steiner was very against all forms a physical mediumship as it is, to him, the height of materialism to demand that the spirit world conform to the physical world’s limitations. Also, any form of mediumship, such as deep trance, where one sets aside her conscious mind and allows the discarnate to take over, was considered very dangerous and not to be used. As I have great respect for both teachers, I entered my beginning exploration into mental mediumship very cautiously. Why explore it at all? Because I am an inquisitive person. I will conduct the experiment myself and come to my own conclusions. Is there anything of value that we can use from mental mediumship in our conversation with the dead? So…I am sort of a crash test dummy on all this which I will then report back to you for your consideration.

For the past 18 months or so, I have studied with and read many different books on mediumship. To be fair, 18 months is not a long time to develop the skills of a medium, if they can be developed at all by one such as me who makes no claims to innate abilities for mediumship. That very point is debated in the mediumship community quite a bit. Some believe anyone can develop a certain degree of proficiency while others insist you must be born a medium, they are not made. (Interestingly, one such medium has no problem offering classes in mediumship with no vetting process at all. You pay, you play.) I’ve also engaged several mediums for readings. I will not name names good or bad so I can speak freely about my experiences.

The readings I’ve received have ranged from abysmal, to strange, to pretty good, to startlingly good (though I have some reservations about that one). You see, one of the mediums that I think of very highly, whose knowledge, experience and integrity are to me of the highest caliber, and with whom I chose to mentor with for a while, assigned me to read a book by Lamar Keene, “Psychic Mafia,” as a cautionary tale. The book made me physically ill to read. The corruption of spirit, the vile betrayal of people in deep mourning, the outright thievery and at times prostitution of these so-called mediums casts such a dark shadow on the whole field, that it is hard for me to put much faith in 99% for what passes as mediumship. My apologies to those honest and true mediums but I am sure you can understand and even share my outrage.

One of the easiest ways to play fast and loose is to keep files on clients and share then among other mediums worldwide. My mentor insists that practice is still used today. Now add to that phone readings and the internet and quickly one can see how easy it is for any less the honest “medium” to have all kinds of information at his fingertips.

Nevertheless, I wanted to study this form of communication to see if I can develop any ability at all to talk to the dead at will. Along with the mentoring, I took several local workshops and online classes. Not bad. Then I took a very expensive class from one of the top mediums in the field today. It is a good class, though truly too expensive with all the kinks of a new endeavor to work out. One of the final assignments was to do a platform reading with total strangers. That was almost a deal breaker for me as I never intend to do readings for people of any kind let alone up on a stage with a group of people. You gotta be kidding, right? I almost gave up right there; my stomach was in so many knots. However, with the help and encouragement of a dear friend who offered to host a small group at her home, I went ahead with it.

Using most of the techniques suggested by this teacher, I actually was able to connect with the paternal grandfather of a gentleman in the group. I rattled off all kinds of info about this grandfather. When I finally lost the connection, I opened my eyes, expecting to see the man shaking his head “no” with pity in his eyes. Instead I saw a man shaking his head “yes” with tears in his eyes. I had in fact described his paternal grandfather almost perfectly and his coming through was especially meaningful as this man was going to India to meet with members of his paternal grandfather’s family he had not seen in years.

So, I can say even from my beginning experiments in mental mediumship, it is possible, with time and dedication, to develop some skill in communicating with the dead in this way. But still, I have reservations.

With the exception of one medium, everyone I have read or studied with personally insists that there is no possibility of connecting with any type of dark forces. They insist that there is only good in the spiritual world; evil is human made and “like attracts like.” That aligns with much of the New Age community’s thoughts on this. But the Kabbalah and Steiner (and heck even the bible) suggests otherwise; that assuming only Light in the spiritual world is naïve and dangerous. I tend to agree with that. As far as “like attracting like,” while our outward persona may be kind and congenial, none of us knows for certain what lurks in our subconscious…that’s why it called the subconscious. What little signals might we be putting out that we are totally unaware of? I speak lightly but truly, this is something to be very concerned about. So my caution may be a parting point for those of you who cannot conceive of the need to be wise as a serpent when venturing into the supersensible worlds. I will respect that and bide you adieu. I will not, as was suggested by the superstar medium, “blend” my energy with any and all discarnate beings that choose to enter my field.

Another problem I have with some of the mediums as well as other metaphysical teachers of intuition I have studied with is the idea of “power.” “Get into your power. Own your power. Feel your power. Power. Power. Power.” To say that to an uninitiated, possibly uneducated, unknown group, without clearly defining what they mean by that (if they know what they mean by that), to me is irresponsible. Those teachers will also bear the karma, the responsibility, for whatever happens to their students from acting upon that advice.

I’ve studied the Kabbalah too long and have done too many years of Jungian analysis to bandy about that admonition without being very, very clear where that Power originates and one’s proper alignment to it. All power originates with the Divine (in whatever way you define that). It is only when our small personality is completely subservient to the will of the Divine, that any Power may flow though us. It is not our power; we are merely conduits for it to flow. “Not my will but Thine be done,” or having the Ego/Self axis in proper relationship….the small self subservient to the Higher Self. Unfortunately, and I see this all over the place, people’s small selves, often referred to as “ego” (oh there’s another problem – we need a strong healthy ego to live in this world. Ego is not bad…but an unhealthy or damaged ego needs healing) becomes inflated (oh there’s those years of Jungian analysis again) feeling itself omnipotent. That can lead to all kinds of delusions and bad behavior…the wreckage of which I see strewn about the New Age community all the time. So I am very cautious around teachers’ who adjure their students to “Own their power,” without clearly defining where that Power comes from and one’s relationship to it.

As far as mental mediumship goes, I feel that for myself, I have studied enough and gathered together enough material, should I feel it needed, to develop my skills. Basically…I feel the energy for the study waning. There may be a place in the Community of Spirits for some of its techniques to be of use, I am not sure. And certainly those who are true mediums are welcome as part of our community. But I am now going to focus on Rudolf Steiner’s work for communicating with the dead. (There are some other interesting avenues I will also pursue and report on…but not just yet.) I’ve done my best to gather everything I can find that Steiner wrote or spoke about concerning the dead, our service to them, our work with them, together and have read them though at least once. New discoveries keep turning up and I add them to my study. Soon I will begin suggesting some reading for those interested and comment on what I’ve read.

Ultimately all this is a seeding of the subconscious field. I want to plant the best seeds then see what new, original work sprouts forth. Work that will take Steiner’s work forward into the 21st century but also evolve as it grows. I am sure he would want that.

The difference between this venture and the one I took with death midwifery is that you are watching the entire creative process, ragged seams and all unfold, and not presented with the shiny finished product of 18 years of work. It’s a far more vulnerable place for me, but I am guided to do this in this way now. Bear with me as we grow together.

(By the way, Lambda is far easier and kinder to write to than Epsilon. I highly recommend trying it.)

Dialing in the Dying and the Dead

brainwave  Today I’ll begin a discussion on my experience communicating with the dying in unresponsive states or coma and my beginning experiences of communicating with the dead. While I have a good bit of experience with the one, I am relatively new to the other. These are my theories as of now which may very well change as I gain experience communing with the dead. But I want to lay out the beginning groundwork and we’ll see where it leads over time.

In my time communing with the dying, those either unable to respond in a recognizable way to the medical community or those in actual coma, I became somewhat fluent in the various brainwaves states we travel through on a daily basis. There are many great sites on the internet to describe them…but I will give you this one as it lists some of the “newer” discoveries; that of Lambda and Epsilon. (Please understand I am not endorsing the company nor its products. I just find their guide useful.)

What I found in my work as a death midwife was that, after preparing myself though meditation, ritual work and prayer, creating sacred space for and given sufficient time with a patient alone, I could connect with that patient and feel where on the brainwave frequency scale he or she was. Often they would be somewhere near the middle to lower ranges of theta or, in the case of coma, delta.

With enough time, slowing my breath to match my patient’s, emptying my mind and riding the wave; I could “find” them. Please understand the communication I received was not like sitting at Starbucks and chatting over a latte. However, I often received feelings, impressions and even bits of information. For example, I was with a very elderly gentleman once. Normally with someone of that age, out of respect, I would address him as Mr. Whatever-his-name-was. But for some reason, I knew in this instance that would be wrong. So I called him by his first name. Later when his young friend came to visit, she told me, without my asking, that this man never liked to be called “Mr.” He only wanted to be addressed by his first name.

There was one of the most beautiful interactions I ever had on the palliative care unit of Norfolk General Hospital with a very young woman in her early 20’s who was dying of terminal breast cancer. I was informed at the staff meeting that her mother had for all intents and purposes abandoned her and she had no one. With time and care, I established a deep connection with this young woman. Being old enough to be her mother, we formed a bond that staggers me to this day. Her need for a mother was so intense, so deep, that she psychically embraced me as such. With very minimal touch, which she telepathically granted my permission to make, I cradled her etherically, poured love into her and she, a thirsty sponge, soaked it up and up until I thought we might both burst from the intensity of the love shared. I spent as many hours with her as I could and when it became necessary to release the bond, I communicated the need to her again telepathically. She, in turn, made it very clear she didn’t want me to go and curled into a fetal position. It tore me up to leave her.

Coma patients I find to be a bit different. First, being able to stay awake while matching them in a delta frequency is no mean feat. What I found is that feelings and any snippets of words and such disappeared. What I received were symbols, fleeting images that I was tasked with ascribing meaning. What did those images, those symbols, mean to me? From there I might understand what they wanted to say.

So…with the dying…in my experience, slower and slower brainwave frequencies are accessed. But what happens when the body dies and the mind is no longer tied to the brain? What happens when consciousness is freed?

I’ll share my few experiences thus far on that. The first experience was at the bedside of my friend as he died. My very first experience being with someone as he crossed the threshold of death. I go into greater detail about this in my book but I felt him break loose of his body as his spirit passed through my hand (we were holding hands at the time so that was our only point of physical contact). I felt an electrical vibration, like millions of bees buzzing in my hand. The energy, which had been slowing down and down as he approached death, now ignited into something very high and euphoric. And I heard him, felt him, saying over and over, “Goodbye Joellyn. I love you. Thank you. Goodbye Joellyn. I love you. Thank you.”

The striking thing was the sense of moving from a very low brainwave frequency almost instantaneously to a frequency so high and unfettered by the brain it is nearly shattering. It reminds me of the reports of the Tibetans in their Book of the Dead where they speak of the newly dead travelling at very high rates of velocity, shooting through space to the accompaniment of the sounds of gongs and bells. I had an experience approximating that doing a particularly advanced form of extended pranayama. I actually felt I experienced a dress rehearsal for my death. I’ll never again experiment with that particular pranayama without a spotter for I surely thought I was dying!

There were many after death experiences with my friend that I wrote of in my book which faded over a period of about two years. Those are of a different nature and vibration than what I have so far encountered in my formal study of mental mediumship. They were spontaneous, unbidden and seemed to interject themselves into my normal waking state of consciousness. All the mediums I have studied with thus far agree that one has to raise one’s vibration in order to formally speak to the dead as mediums do in their sessions. The dead must lower their vibrations while we raise ours…meeting in the medium range…and hence the term medium.

In order to become certified by the James Van Praagh School of Mystical Arts in mediumship (please note the certification merely means you have successfully completed his course, not that he is certifying you as a medium…something some are already claiming unfortunately), I had to do what amounts to a platform reading for some strangers. Oh…so not what I wanted to do! But, knees shaking, I went ahead with it and using his techniques, I was able to raise my vibration high enough to make contact with a gentlemen’s deceased paternal grandfather, giving him lots of accurate detail before I lost the connection.

James describes it like this – imagine you are dog paddling in the middle of a lake. You paddle and paddle trying to keep your head above water. How much strength, how much muscle you have, determines how long you can keep your head up. As you tire, your nose dips under the wave. So it is with mental mediumship, as you tire, the vibration lowers and you lose the connection. This is very different with the dead than with the dying for I was able to maintain those lower frequencies for very long periods of time with ease.

So now my question is – what frequencies of vibrations are available to access for those without the limitations of the brain? Perhaps those of us still in the physical will be confined to those frequencies on the chart I provided…and yet…Lambda and Epsilon are more recently discovered. Can we keep pushing the boundaries and at least, for a time, step out of the confines of our brains to experience pure consciousness as do the dead and the angelic hierarchies? Somewhere beyond Epsilon or perhaps Hyper-Lambda? Is this what Rudolf Steiner is suggesting is our goal as we evolve ever upward? As I will keep reminding you, this is a work in progress as I meditate and seek guidance from my inner teachers. I am travelling out on the edge…and invite you to join me as we explore this together. I for one will be experimenting with the Lambda frequency as a means to come closer to the realm of the dead and the angelic hierarchies.

Please feel free to post your thoughts below. We are a community of spirits so let us begin a respectful dialogue.