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…

Beloved R

 

To R

It is three years ago today that you died to this world but was born into the supersensible realms. The first 18 months of your crossing the threshold were not real to me. I pushed the thought of your death away, pretending it didn’t happen. Then during the last two days of my second Saturn return, December 30-31st, 2014, there you were. Perhaps you’d been trying to reach me all the while but it wasn’t until then, when you brought out the big guns, I could no longer ignore what was happening…and what you were asking of me.

It takes those of us here on the physical plane (I will not say left behind for that does you a great disservice) a long time to get past the suffering of grief and embrace the celebration of your return to the angelic realms…but truly I do celebrate with you today. Slowly I continue to understand how our destiny works together, how everything had to happen the way it did, for this most important work we do together to begin. Do I not sometimes wish things could have been different? Yes…I do. But Rudolf Steiner urges us to accept and fulfill our destiny with as much grace as possible. So to the best of my ability, I do.

You and I have much work to accomplish before I too cross the threshold. With your support and the guidance from our guardian angels, guides and teachers in the higher realms, we will forge ahead…not truly sure where all this will lead…but knowing that no matter what…this is the work we were meant to do…you and I.

So today…I will read to you to help you orient to your new surroundings better and better. I will send you beautiful colors and charged thoughts of love as nourishment for your soul. And I will know…that death does not separate us…that you are closer to me now than ever you were in the flesh…and understand so much better now why, for each of us to do what we were meant to do, we had to “part” in the physical. So with you there and me here (which again is a mistatement as we occupy the same space) …we forge the bridge we agreed to build before we ever incarnated in this life. Truly this life is a mystery!

Happy Birthday R. You are very much loved.

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.

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.

After death – 1 of 5

Alternating with my own thoughts, I will post this series of Rudolf Steiner’s on the time between death and rebirth. For those of you who feel inclined, I suggest reading his “Life Between Death and Rebirth” as I will be referencing that quite a bit in the blogs to come.

The great Rudolf Steiner Quotes Site

When we go through the gate of death our life on earth is followed by a few days in which pictures of the life just ended come before us in a gigantic perspective. These pictures are suddenly there: the events of years long past and of the last few days are there simultaneously. As the spatial exists side by side and only possesses spatial perspective, so the temporal events of our earthly life are now seen side by side and possess ‘time-perspective’. This tableau appears suddenly, but, during the short time it is there, it becomes more and more shadowy, weaker and weaker. Whereas in earthly life we look into ourselves and feel that we have our memory-pictures ‘rolled up’ within us, these pictures now become greater and greater. We feel as if they were being received by the universe. What is at first comprised within the memory tableau as…

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Good thoughts and feelings give wings to the dead

Though we grieve the death of our beloved’s physicality, we do not wish to burden them with that grief. As an act of love, set grief aside when connecting to our loved ones in spirit. Send only love as it is their food and their art. It is what nourishes and sustains them on their journey from death to rebirth.

The great Rudolf Steiner Quotes Site

It is very important to send our thoughts and feelings to a loved one who has died and is now in the spiritual worlds. Our thoughts must not contain yearnings to have the departed back with us, as this complicates his life in the spheres in which he must now enter. What we need to send to the spiritual worlds is not the suffering we endure but the love we bear towards the departed. […] Spiritual research has shown that feelings of love give wings that bear the dead up, whereas longings like: “Oh how I wish you were still with us” create obstacles in his path. This is a general indication of how to direct our feelings in such events.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 264 – From a letter to Paula Stryczek – Berlin, 31 December 1905 (page 101)

Anonymous translator

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The Mission of the Community of Spirits (or What’s it All About, Alfie?)

As a preface, as referenced in my last blog, “Dialing in the Dying and the Dead,” I write this while listening to a recording of a brainwave entrainment of Epsilon, the lowest brainwave frequency we currently know. I find this frequency extraordinarily soothing as I feel my brain literally slowing down.

It seems time for me to enunciate, as best as I am able, the mission of the Community of Spirits and the direction it is leading. Please understand that this is being revealed to me step by step. I do not know where all this will ultimately lead. Normally, I do not begin something without a clear vision of where it will ultimately end, but this time, I am urged to move forward and trust that the next right step will be given to me at the right time. Perhaps it is the urgency so many of us feel about the times we live in, feeling that we are at a tipping point. That we do not have the luxury of being certain what shape our service will take or where it will lead, only trusting that our inner guidance will correctly steer us as bearers of the Light….because it is imperative that we step out of our comfort zone and stand at the leading edge. Life as we know it requires this of us now.

With that said, I’ll take a deep breath, and begin…

First let me tell you what the Community of Spirits is not. It is not here to convince or convert anyone to a belief in the afterlife. It is based on a knowing that consciousness exists beyond the physical transformation we call death. There are many organizations and individuals that are dedicated to presenting that evidence to the uncertain but that is not our purpose. We take that knowing as a baseline and grow from there. However by becoming a member of the Community of Spirits, your conviction of an afterlife may strengthen and gain more clarity.

Though I am experimenting with a few modalities for entering the unseen world, this community is strongly based on the works of Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy. Steiner was not infallible nor are his methods and techniques the only way of accessing the inner planes. And in no way do I claim to be a Steiner scholar. Far from it. However, at this time, I have been guided to and deeply connected with his work and its relevancy for the Western psyche. So that is where the focus of this community will reside. Clearly articulated, I hope to draw those in resonance with this method to us. As time goes on, I will reference many of his works on death, life between death and rebirth and destiny, writing about them as a way to lay the foundation for and clarification of where we are heading. So, though I have great respect for the other paths of service to the dead, this community will not focus on them.

Now for what the Community is. I share this now, as it is, I think, a pivotal point of work for the Community of Spirits to engage. Steiner suggests that the so-called living and the so-called dead should be conversant with each other. He believed that the so-called living could do great service for the so-called dead, which we will explore. He also believed that the so-called dead can aid the evolvement of life on earth. Long ago there was an easy dialogue between the two worlds which was lost as man developed self-consciousness. It was a very necessary step but now accomplished, it is imperative that we re-establish the connection with the unseen worlds with this consciousness fully intact.

With no disrespect meant to those born with natural psychic and/or mediumistic abilities, Steiner actually felt that was an unfortunate throwback to an earlier stage of human evolution. He believed the best way to access the unseen world was to learn through discipline, practice and training. So…that is where I come in, having no natural abilities of that kind (though I am highly sensitive and empathic), I will, through studying his techniques and practices, along with a couple of other modalities, see if I can successfully develop what Steiner calls clairvoyant consciousness. I’ll report what does and does not work for me and make suggestions for you to consider. (I can tell you that even now, I have taken baby steps in that direction with positive results.)

Another major part of the work of the Community of Spirits is based on the following Steiner theory. He posits that at this point in human evolution it is not possible to actualize 100% of our potential. We simply do not have the “organs” required for that fully developed at this time. So we all die without fully reaching our potential. We take that unrealized potential with us when we cross the threshold we call death.

Now, while we can’t fully realize our own potential while incarnated, Steiner contends that we can act as conduits for the unrealized potential of the dead to flow through us to the physical plane, for the benefit and evolvement of all. That is a task we will seek clarity on and take up as an act of service. There is much I will need to learn about this process, how it will look, how to do it safely, etc. That is yet to be revealed but I put it out as the overall direction we will take in time.

I am also learning as much as I can about social media and ways for us to connect through cyberspace as I hope this community to be international in scope. That’s a big learning curve for me as I am not technically savvy…but what the heck…just another step out of my comfort zone. I’m starting to get used to it.

Well…I think that is enough to get us started. Your thoughts and support are always appreciated. (Oh…by the way…it gets…quite…spacey…writing in…Epsilon. Don’t overdo it or re-entry to Beta might be a bit…uncomfortable.) Until next time…

The Lights are on and Somebody IS Home

small christmas tree

The beauty of writing a blog is the free flow of thoughts. Unlike a book where one chapter leads to the next in a logical form, here I will write in no special order. Writing as thoughts light up for me as it were…which leads to today’s blog…

R shared a birthday with Martin Luther King, January 15. We always left the Christmas lights on the tree lit until his birthday. It became a ritual of sorts and always made the often dreary first days of January warmer and brighter for us. Even after we parted, I managed to keep the lights on until then, a quiet remembrance. Since he died, with my husband Richard’s blessings, we keep the lights lit until the 15th each year in memory. And we always will. Each time we remember the dead, the love of our thoughts, feeds them. Rudolf Steiner suggests that our loving thoughts of the dead are not only their food but also their art. They know what we do and they appreciate it….actually need it.

Rituals are important. I can imagine as the Community of Spirits grows, we will create and share rituals to honor the dead in many ways. Based on some of my readings of Steiner, I’ve begun a new ritual to honor R’s crossing of the threshold. I am creating a ritual to honor his death day, July 28. Let me say this, in order to celebrate his death here in the physical, I first had to deeply grieve it. I would never suggest to someone in the early stages of grief that the date of their loved one’s death is cause for celebration. Never. That would be an act of violence to one who suffers. However I have read something of Steiner’s on this that is so beautiful, it makes me weep. Let me try to share it with you here.

Steiner posits that none of us, with perhaps the exception of the highest of initiates, remembers his birth into the physical. (Yogananda asserts that he did for example.) Our memories begin sometime after. However, he states that all of us remember our death, the moment when we cross the threshold from the sensible to the supersensible world. As we travel through the various stages between death and rebirth, we always see behind us that moment when we realized, “My body died and I still exist.” The ecstasy, the ineffable joy, the pure freedom of that realization travels with us throughout our entire time in the unseen world until we reincarnate back into the physical. We know without any doubt whatsoever that there is a part of us that is immortal….that we will always be growing and evolving.

Steiner says that if we only realized how that moment will impact us, time after time, we would never again fear death. It would become the most important, most poignant and one of the happiest days of our lives. One to be celebrated.

So now that enough time has passed and the most agonizing phase of grief and mourning have somewhat settled (for one will cycle through phases of grief and mourning many times, spiraling through hopefully on a higher plane each time, metabolizing the grief and transmuting it into spiritual growth), I begin the celebration of R’s death in the physical and birth into the supersensible. This past July 28th for the first time, I walked along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. We loved the ocean and lived by it for a good part of our lives together. There is something sacred and mysterious about the very place where the ocean meets the shore, the life force, the chi, the prana, the Ruach. The ebb and flow, alpha and omega, inhalation, exhalation, inspiration, expiration…always and forever. I can feel him walking by my side, sharing happy memories and hear him saying, “Thank you.” It is what I hope will become a yearly event.

And now that I’ve shared these beginning thoughts about rituals with you, I can turn off the lights…until next time.