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.

 

The dead are always present

Imagine how the nature of grief might change should we only embrace this wholeheartedly.

The great Rudolf Steiner Quotes Site

We are living together with the so-called dead. The dead are always present. They move and have their being in a super-sensible world. We are not separated from them by our ‘real being,’ only by our condition of consciousness. We are only separated from them as in sleep we are separated from the things around us; we sleep in a room and do not see the chairs and other things. Though we do not describe it thus, yet as regards our feeling and will, we ‘sleep’ in the so-called waking condition among the dead, just as we do not perceive the physical objects around us when we sleep.

Thus we do not live separated from the world ruled by the forces of the dead, we are together with them in one common world. In our ordinary consciousness we are only separated from them by the state of that consciousness.

This…

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From the other side, death appears as the light-filled beginning of experience of the Spirit

If we could just relax into this knowing, how we live our lives might change dramatically.

The great Rudolf Steiner Quotes Site

From this side of life, death appears to be a dissolution, something in face of which the human being has a ready fear and dread. From the other side, death appears as the light-filled beginning of experience of the Spirit, as that which spreads a sun-radiance over the whole of the subsequent life between death and a new birth; as that which most of all warms the soul through with joy in the life between death and a new birth. The moment of death is something that is looked back upon with a deep sense of blessing. Described in earthly terms: the moment of death, viewed from the other side, is the most joyful, the most enrapturing point in the life between death and a new birth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 161 – The Problem of Death I – Dornach, February 5, 1915

Previously posted on April 12, 2016

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About the fear of death

Quiet…Quiet…Hush now…do not fear. Death is not the enemy. There is nothing to fear. Gentle. Easy. When the time is right…relax…and let go.

The great Rudolf Steiner Quotes Site

At the moment of death, when the human being goes through the portal of death, he sees numerous hindering, malevolent forces approaching him. These forces, however, are usually drawn near through the fear of death. The greater the fear of death, the stronger their power is. Fear of death has always been a cause of anxiety at the moment of death. When, however, the dying person is aware that fear cannot change anything about the dying process that he has to go through, these forces and powers appear like desiccated bags.

The human being can only gain victory over the fear of death and bravely face it if he knows that in him is an immortal, eternal inner core for whom death is only a metamorphosis of life, a change of life form. As soon as the human being discovers his immortal inner core through spiritual science, he learns more…

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Cry of the Elephants

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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.

A Touching Visit with R

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While I won’t go into great detail about using the psychomanteum for contacting our beloved dead as a form of grief therapy, I do want to mention it because for many, it may be the most important personal use of mirror gazing.

My second solo visit to the psychomanteum was for the sole purpose of contacting R, my deceased first husband and, I feel, the initiator and co-founder of the Community of Spirits. I’d waited a very long time for this experience and who better to guide me through it than Dr. Raymond Moody.

If you read his book Reunions, at the time you will see he had a very elaborate and lengthy process to undergo before entering the psychomanteum in order to visit with a beloved dead. Over the years he has found that the simpler, the better. So I didn’t need to bring photos or mementos of R. Instead I just talked about him – sharing many memories, happy, sad…sharing the best things about our marriage and my deepest regrets. We did that for at least an hour and it was quite emotional for me. Then Dr. Moody found what I thought was the perfect piece of nonsense poetry (I do not remember its name at this time). It was amazing to me how very moving this piece of nonsense was, how it managed to somehow capture the feeling in my heart, bringing me to tears.

With that, I entered the psychomanteum alone with no music. I was in there for a very long time, likely several hours (Dr. Moody had forgotten a timepiece and wanted to be sure I had plenty of time for the experience). It took a while to get past some normal household noise (his two teenagers were home and their voices were easily heard) but with time, I got past that.

I wish I could say R materialized in the mirror, that he came out and appeared in 3-D next to me. I truly wish I could – but he didn’t. I did see a formation of white in the mirror, as if he was trying to take form but R never materialized visually for me. And honestly – that made me sad, very sad because I had waited so long and prepared for this so long. Tears began flowing down my cheeks. Then…I felt…the lightest touch. It felt like R was running a finger down my tears to dry them. After that…the lightest kiss on my lips. Oh my God! Was I imagining this? But it happened again later in our visit.

What I am finding out with practice is that, we each will receive information or contact in different ways. Clairvoyance or extra sight is not my forte. I hear and feel and smell and know much easier than I see. With his touch, I relaxed into the experience. Again, Dr. Moody cautions us to “try not to try.” Oh yeah, that is easy. But…finally I surrendered to experience in whatever shape it was going to take. I just relaxed and let go of any and all expectations.

Before I knew it, my mind was filled with reminisces – happy ones, sad one, intimate ones, private ones. And he made me laugh as he did in physical life as he was quite the clown. The tears flowed and again I felt his gentle touch tracing my tears, his soft kiss. I told him I was so frustrated that I couldn’t see him like other have with their loved ones…that I couldn’t actually hear his voice, our communication was telepathic.

What he said to that was powerful, he said, “That is because we share the same space.” Rudolf Steiner tells us that the dead are not “somewhere else.” They are right here only at a higher level of frequency. We share the same space. He also tells us that our loved ones can reside within us. That is not a metaphor. Our beloved dead can live right inside us. They have access to all our thoughts, our memories, our emotions. They know us truly better now than when they were in the flesh.

So I believe that might be why I may never see R appear visually in the mirror, nor actually hear his voice. We’ve been communication for a couple of years now, in this different way and I may have to be content with that. Trust in that. Strengthen that.

I also got that sense that though R will always be a part of my team of those across the threshold who will guide this work, a good deal of what he was tasked to do is completed. He was the motivating factor to push me from working with the dying to working with the dead. He will always be there, cheering me on but perhaps in the background a bit more as the others begin to come forward. In the next post, I will begin sharing those encounters with you.

So mirror gazing can be a powerful tool for easing grief by allowing you to connect with your beloved dead. It takes time and practice and patience. It may also take figuring out just how you receive information. But I highly recommend it to seeking out a medium. Why not make direct contact yourself instead of relying on someone else who may or may not be ethical in their practice?

Take good care until next time…

Nourishment to the dead

Know that I haven’t forgotten you. I am preparing for a long weekend with Dr. Raymond Moody and his work evoking the dead. Once I recover from my travels, I will bring you up to speed on his theories and practices. For now, take these words of Steiner’s deeply into your heart. Realize that our connection to the dead does not end when they cross the threshold. We, however, must learn the new terrain.

The great Rudolf Steiner Quotes Site

When we go to sleep at night, the ideas and thoughts which have passed through our consciousness in our waking hours begin to live, to be living beings. Then the souls of the dead draw near and share in these ideas, feeling nourished as they perceive them. When clairvoyant vision is directed to the dead who night after night make their way to the sleeping human beings left behind on earth — especially blood-relations but friends as well — seeking refreshment and nourishment from the thoughts and ideas that have been carried into sleep, it is a shattering experience to see that they often find nothing. For as regards the state of sleep there is a great difference between one kind of thought and another.

If throughout the day we are engrossed in thoughts connected with material life, if our mind is directed only to what is going on in…

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Reunions

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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.

 

A Simple Act of Service to the Dead

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Friday I will be heading to Rowe, Massachusetts to attend Dr. Raymond Moody’s workshop, “Reunions, visionary encounters with departed loved ones!” The more I become familiar with his work, the more I feel strongly that I will find the synthesis between his work and Rudolf Steiner’s in communing with the dead. When I return I will, of course, tell you all about it but I would like to leave you today with a simple yet elegant way to serve the dead while strengthening your bond with those you love across the threshold.

One of the most important acts of service you an offer those you love who have died is to read to them. This can take many forms but the simplest is to actually read spiritual materials to them. According to Steiner, the dead are no longer interested in or can connect with the mundane and/or abstract thoughts of the physical world. But spiritual thoughts read to them with great love, act as nourishment and even as art for the dead. Without these spirituals readings, the dead can actually starve.

It can be any book of a spiritual nature, something that they were interested in during their physical life or something entirely new. Even those souls who never had an interest in spiritual things while in the flesh will be very grateful for you reading to them now.

I’ll share what I do but please know you can set up your practice in the way that is most satisfying to you. I’ve collected scores of books on Steiner’s theories about life between death and rebirth, destiny, reincarnation, karma, etc. and I use them primarily as I too am learning as I read. I choose to read in the evening in bed so that these thoughts will fill my dreamtime, the place where the living and the dead coexist, and my beloved dead can soak them up most easily. I read most nights but I do not make it a chore. If I am too tired or not in the right mood, I will let a night go by…but most nights I read.

I lay out pictures of those in my “reading circle” focusing on each one with love and inviting them to join me. I wait and usually feel them connect to me. Not always, but most times. And I feel confident that even if I don’t feel a sure connect, they are there just the same. Then I invite my guardian or guiding angel and the angels of each member of the circle to join us, affirming that our communication and bond grows stronger, clearer, more consistent and precise each time we gather. Next I say a little prayer that is meaningful to our purpose.

Then…I read. Usually I read aloud but that may fade into silent reading as time goes on. In some texts, Steiner says to read aloud, others times he says to read silently. I think you should do what feels right to you and your circle at the time. I read for as long as I can stay fully present with the material. If I become cloudy or tired, the images do not translate well for the dead, so I stop for the evening, closing with another little prayer and thanking everyone for attending with the invitation to join me again next time.

Steiner asserts over and over again that this is one of the most important acts of service we can perform for our beloved dead. I can also tell you it is extremely fulfilling for me as well. The intimacy and the feeling of them actually being there, which they are, is so strong at times, it brings me to tears.

So, I hope you will try it out and see if this is something you could also offer your beloved dead. It is a first step…one of many I will share in time, in building the bridge between the so-called living and the so-called dead that is absolutely essential during this time on earth. Both sides of the veil need this bridge desperately. Each of us can play our part. This is one small step I urge you to take. Until I return from Rowe…