Redefining Death

PhotoMoodySmartt

For over a year I spent studying one on one with Dr. Raymond Moody, by phone or at his home. I learned so very much from this brilliant, gentle and funny man. From ancient Greek philosophy to the logic of nonsense to the use of a psychomanteum as a vehicle to address grief, he shared generously of his vast store of knowledge and expertise as a medical doctor, doctor of philosophy, and forensic psychiatrist.

And yet…after 50 years of research into near death and shared death experiences, reincarnation…virtually all things surrounding death…he never concluded that consciousness survives death. I cannot now give you the very lengthy definition he used for death…but… it came to the idea of complete annihilation. Period. Zilch. The end. Forever. All work in the field of life after death attempted to explain the paradox of…life…after…death. The phrase is nonsensical.

I suggested something to him that I am not sure he appreciated. I suggested that the very definition was wrong…was predicated on a falsity. I suggested that the definition of death needed to be redefined. I mean…who got to stipulate what death was? And when? Certainly, the ancient Egyptians and other cultures had a vastly different view of death. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” In any case, after all these years and all this study, it just might be time to redefine death.

With that I invite you today to register for Dr. Moody’s free webinar, “I’m Convinced.” It kicks off the opening of his new online school, The University of Heaven. With his colleague, Lisa Smartt, they will be offering courses of study in many facets of the death. There will be many of the top people in the field of consciousness as guest teachers. And finally, after more than 50 years in the field, Dr. Moody will address his conclusion on whether consciousness does indeed survive what we call death.

For those of you, like me, who have been avid readers and admirers of his work since the beginning, this is a momentous occasion. Dr. Moody is an incomparable teacher, mentor…and friend. I hope you will join “us” this coming Tuesday, October 30th at 7pm ET.

 

Reunions

mirror_scrying

Two weeks ago I had the great honor to attend a weekend workshop held by Dr. Raymond Moody in Rowe, MA. Based on his book “Reunions”, which I highly recommend reading, we spent the weekend preparing for an opportunity to connect with dead loved ones using an ancient Greek technique known as the psychomanteum.

Dr. Moody has visited the famous Necromanteion of Ephyra near the Acheron River in Greece and learned about the rituals those who aspired to make contact with their beloved dead underwent – 29 days in the dark, making their way through labyrinths, crawling under very low archways, spending hours talking to the priests about those they wished to connect with, inhaling fumes of hashish. After nearly a months’ worth of preparation, they made their way to a cauldron supported by a tripod and there in the reflection of the water, would hope to connect and communicate with their much loved dead.

We spent a good deal of time understanding the history and literary background of the Necromanteion and thoughts of the various ancient Greek philosophers about the afterlife. Honestly at times, it felt as if we had been transported back into time, sitting at the feet of Socrates and carrying on the dialogues. We also learned about what we would need to build a modern day version of the psychomanteum.

Obviously the elaborate and time intensive way the Greeks prepared for visiting with this dead is not really viable in the 21st century. Dr. Moody has, in his book and during this weekend, settled on the most important elements in a modified version better suited to today. We were able to experiment with it and perhaps get a small taste of the experience with the hope that we would continue the practice on our own.

Basically, Dr. Moody refers to this practice as “mirror gazing.” Many different modalities can be used – mirrors, crystal balls, scrying bowls, polished obsidian stone, shiny bottles, etc. but that weekend we used mirrors and darkened rooms with dimly lit candles. I won’t go into too much detail as you can read about it in his book if you are so inclined. I would just say that his has modified his technique a bit since writing the book to make it simpler and easier to do.

He suggested that to begin with; go into the psychomanteum with no preconceived agenda, then over weeks and months, perhaps even years, to then begin evoking the dead. Since I knew I would be working with him privately at his home in Alabama and our time this weekend was limited, that is what I chose to do, though some desperately needed to connect with lost loved ones. This technique has far reaching applications in grief therapy and many find even five years after their experience that their grief has been greatly reduced. Some during the weekend were successful in making contact; some were not…though some experienced bedside visitations from their beloved dead that night when they went to sleep. I had a truly unexpected and rather psychedelic experience I am still trying to wrap my head around today but did not make contact with the dead.

Now here is the interesting thing about this process and why I am pursuing it as adjunct to Rudolf Steiner’s work. Steiner himself admits that his process of entering the “supersensible worlds” is infinitely difficult. Very few of this students are successful. He assures us, though, that if we cannot access the worlds ourselves, we can trust the reporting of those precious few who can. And you know…somehow that bothers me. I am not giving up on learning the technique Dr. Steiner offers but the “mirror gazing” technique, which has been practiced in many cultures for thousands of years, has been used successfully by almost everyone of sound mind, with practice, who has the ability to let go of results and “not try.”

You see…I just don’t like relying on someone else’s experience. I want direct experience myself – not through mediums and not even through the genius of Steiner. I prefer to be my own crash test dummy. So I have started my own private practice, at home, with my first rendition of “mirror gazing.” It so far, it has been very, very interesting though I am not ready to share my experiences as they are too new and too few. Also, there are many ways one can use mirror gazing beyond communication with dead loved ones and I am very interested in experimenting with all the ways this might be used to help “bring down the Light,” as we need it now more than ever.

Until I go to work privately with Dr. Moody in January, I will be practicing with mirror gazing and journaling my experiences. But this is just one phase of my work with Dr. Moody. We are in the process of defining a project to work together upon using his logic of nonsense as a means of “cross dimensional” travel. So there is a LOT of work yet to be done. And as I know what it is, I will it share with you.

 

Pilgrimage to the Oracles of Greece – Part 2

I will briefly visit the rest of the oracles we saw while in Greece. Even the short time we managed to be at each one, touched me deeply and I believe will help to inspire the work of the Community of Spirits.

Delphi

Delphi

There are no words to aptly describe the beauty and majesty of Delphi. Nested high up in the mountains with a panorama of more mountains at every turn, it sparkles like a jewel. Truly the energy of Apollo permeates every stone, every facet. I broke away from the tour group to spend the bulk of my time standing right above where the prophetess gazed into the tripod bowl and made her predictions. I easily entered into an altered state, seeing the blazing auras of the mountains and bright bolts of silver light emanating from them. I asked a question…and received an answer. Though I have never been here in this life, it felt like home.

Eleusis

Eleusis2

Few tours go here anymore because this most sacred of sites is now surrounded by oil refineries and ugly industry. Again, we had this place virtually to ourselves. Once more, a feeling of familiarity struck me. In researching this site before going, I read the Rosicrucian Digest on it. Interestingly there is an older myth of Demeter and Persephone, one that does not include the rape of Persephone by Hades. In this telling, while Demeter and Persephone are delighting in the fields and flowers, Persephone is drawn to a special flower…a poppy I believe, I am not sure…but she draws near to the flower, whose roots enter the underworld. She hears the cries of the dead. They do not know where they are, do not know they are dead…and are very frightened. Persephone is moved by their suffering and willingly chooses to enter the underworld to serve them. It’s quite a different telling and one that so embraces our service to the dead, it makes me weep. I sat right there, at the opening of the underworld for a long time…reaching out to the spirit of Persephone, asking her guidance and her blessing…asking her a question and receiving an answer.

Nekromanteion (Oracle of the Dead) in Ephyra

necromanteion

The most renowned Oracle of the Dead is perched on a hill where Hade’s river Acheron joins its tributary. This was not part of our tour either but once our guide realized how important these oracles where to me, she made a special jog a bit out of our way for us to spend at least a few minutes there. For over 2500 years people came here to speak with their beloved dead through chthonic rituals. It is here that Dr. Raymond Moody got his inspiration to recreate a modern psychomanteum for the grieving to possibly make contact with their beloved dead. In November, I will spend three days privately working with Dr. Moody and his psychomanteum…learning the process and how to build one of my own.

This is one stream of learning I pursue for our community. Rudolf Steiner’s work is the other. It is my hope that something new will crystalize from the synthesis of these two pioneers.

Next time, we will resume exploring the super-sensible world as Rudolf Steiner suggests.