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.

 

Divine Dissatisfaction

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Listening to my inner guidance while writing my latest book has led me down some surprising avenues. At times, I question my ability to fulfill its edicts. It has me pushing through a lot of self-doubt. Not long ago I came across this conversation between two of the greatest choreographers of the twentieth century: Martha Graham, a pioneer of modern dance and Agnes De Mille, whose choreography for musicals like “Oklahoma” revolutionized musical comedy theatre. Agnes was confused because work she did that she felt was very good was relatively ignored while other works of hers she felt were just okay received acclaim. The following is Martha Graham’s advice to her. I have a copy of it taped to the wall before my computer so I can remind myself what this is all about. I hope you also will find value in it…because we are all Agnes.

A Letter to Agnes DeMille : Martha Graham

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.

 If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium
and be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is;
nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly,
to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly
of the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.
No artist is pleased.

There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction;
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes us more alive than the others.

 

 

Listening Deeply

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I wanted to check in after being silent for some time. It’s not that I haven’t been writing but my focus has shifted to a possible book. It is predicated upon all the work that I did first in death midwifery and now with the Community of Spirits. The idea ignited right around the winter solstice and has been going like gangbusters since. It is a project that, if it comes to fruition, will take a long time…so I wanted to check in and just connect with you.

I won’t speak of the topic. When I was a member of a Western Mystery school, when inspiration is hot, it is suggested to keep the vessel, the inspiration, tightly sealed, keeping things hot, holding the tension, allowing no leakage and therefore no weakening of the inspiration during the creative process. Writing is a fragile thing: it needs protection during its earlier stages. So I hope you will understand.

However, I would like to comment on something I am discovering about this particular process. In my journey to cross the threshold to the world of the “so-called living and the so-called dead” as Rudolf Steiner would language it, I have experimented with many different techniques: mediumship, the psychomanteum, the use of various brainwave entrainment music and various deep states of meditation. I’ve learned something from all of them.

Yet now…I find myself leaving all that behind and just sitting very silently and regularly, breathing deeply…and….listening. Just…listening. Then trusting what comes to me as having value. The source of this information, this dialogue? I am not sure. I do not know if I will reach a place when I do know for sure. Or perhaps the best attitude to take is that of a true skeptic as Dr. Raymond Moody would suggest. He told me that the classical skeptic never reaches a conclusion for to do that closes yourself off from any other possibilities. With your eye firmly on a conclusion you ignore your peripheral vision and therefore can miss miraculous things. That would be a great loss.

So…quietly I sit…listening more and more deeply as I sink down layer upon layer of…what? Mind stuff? The Higher Self? The Enlightened Dead? Yes to all? No to all? It is far too early in the process for me to tell if I ever will. But one thing I know is this: when I reach that place of connection with whatever this is, and we converse…it feels so beautiful…so loving…so safe. So…I must trust that there is purpose to this venture, that it will in some way serve.

I wanted to share that in the hopes that even this little bit of discovery might serve you…and just to connect with you for a bit…you who choose to read my little ramblings.

Thank you.

 

And Again…What Now?

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We live in a time for extreme change. Have you noticed that? Have you noticed how time seems to be speeding up? Are you, like many others, someone who felt we went to sleep one night in one universe, one reality, and woke up the next day in an entirely foreign one, one that seems mad, chaotic and out of control? Well I admit that I do.

Since founding the Community of Spirits about a year and a half ago, I have witnessed and/or experienced great change. It’s been difficult, sometimes unnerving, or sad, or anxiety producing but slowly I am getting my balance on what feels like a different earth. I am compelled to size up what I have been doing, where I spend my time and precious energy (at 61, though I plan to be here a while, I don’t feel I have any time to waste if I am to fulfill what I believe is my destiny.) I left a beloved spiritual community I’d been part of for ten years in order to devote the time necessary to this work.

So (in this strange parallel reality I believe many of us woke up in last November, we start virtually every response with, “So…”) So here is where I find myself today. I am still committed to not only serving the dead, communicating with them, but acting as a conduit for those Enlightened Dead to flow their important contributions down to earth. We certainly need all the help we can get.

To that end I explored mediumship, Rudolf Steiner’s vast lectures and writings about strengthening our bond with the dead and under Dr. Raymond Moody’s mentorship, extensive work with the psychomanteum or mirror gazing as a form of communicating with the Enlightened Dead. All has been helpful on this journey, even if, at times, it is a process of exclusion.

I continue to study the Steiner material, continue to work with Dr. Moody and his psychomanteum but now with a clearer horizon, I am drawn to some new, for me anyway, work and how it might play its part in strengthening the bonds between the so-called living and the so-called dead. Several areas of study have popped up. The work of Michio Kaku and Gregg Braden has loomed large. I feel we are on the verge, if we have not reached it already, where the marriage of science and spirituality will finally be recognized. In particular, Kaku’s thoughts on parallel worlds echo what my intuition has been telling me since I was very young…that there are worlds within worlds within worlds. Braden suggests that the ancients knew how to ride the “waves of time” what we now call vertical time, to enter into a parallel world where that cancer diagnosis doesn’t exist…where that cataclysmic weather event doesn’t occur. That we can learn to do this consciously not by default.  This grabs my imagination.

In addition to that, remote viewing, what Braden suggests we used to refer to as prophecy, has been popping into my view repeatedly. When that happens, I try to pay attention so I am taking my first steps in learning that skill, which my instructor insists we all have.

How will this all tie together? I truly do not know. Remember, back when I started this journey with you, I made it clear this is not the way I usually work. I usually wait 18-20 years while I clumsily scale the learning curve, and then write a neat accounting of what I learned and what I can share with you. Not this time.  My inner teachers insisted that I share this journey with you as I make it, bumps, bruises and all.

But Kaku said something that took my breath away. He said that what we think of as ghosts may simply be beings in another dimension. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of that statement. Take a moment and really take that in. If that is true…if we can find a way to gracefully travel between various dimensions, we will no longer be a walker between worlds…we will walk all the worlds.

Baby steps. Until next time…

P.S. I will be spending time revising my book, “The Art of Death Midwifery,” taking out what longer serves and creating the bridge to my new work with the Community of Spirits. I’ll post as I can…but I need to put time towards that goal. Thanks for your understanding.

Through the Looking Glass

On the Saturday of my weekend with Raymond Moody, we experimented with something st-catherine-of-siennahe has never done before. We gazed together in the mirror. Before we did, we set the intention to go into the mirror and connect with what I call the Enlightened Dead – those of a high spiritual aptitude who have been in the world of spirit for some time and are actively interested in helping the manifest world. This incorporates Rudolf Steiner’s idea that one of the most important acts of service to this world and the next is for those here on earth to act as a conduit for the unrealized potential of the Enlightened Dead, bringing it down to the physical plane.

Before we began gazing, Raymond chose a piece of nonsense poetry suited to our purpose. I do not know that name of it but since our goal was of a spiritual nature, it was spiced with words like consciousness, over-soul, gnostic and so on. It set the tone quite perfectly.

Raymond has been mirror gazing for over thirty years and just what I hoped would happen, happened; I was able to piggy-back off his immense energy and things enfolded rapidly. So rapidly in fact that I had to break off the experience after a short while or be unable to remember all I experienced, be able to write it all down.

Here’s where it gets tricky. What exactly happened to me in the mirror? I cannot say for sure but I will give it to you as it was given to me. With time and practice perhaps I will know for certain what the nature of this experience truly was…or maybe not. It was without a doubt powerful and shifted my energy very high.

This is what happened…

As I gazed into the mirror it began to change shapes and formed a heart-shaped entrance to what I heard in my head was a monastery? A cathedral, a nunnery? No…a monastery. Okay monastery. On my left I once again saw a being outlined in brilliant white light. This is the third time I’ve seen this being. It doesn’t say anything to me but I sense it is a loving being of Light.

The entrance expanded and enveloped me. I am inside the mirror. Next I heard inside my head – St. Sienna. Okay, I am not Catholic, I don’t know much about saints…but Sienna sounds familiar.  Whatever this is feels decidedly female. “I come from dark times too,” she says. I ask for more information – where are you from, what time? I’m wondering about Spain, about the Inquisition, but I do not get any more information from …her. I’ll have my husband Google about her later.

“You have a wounded beast for a leader,” she says. I hear this inside my head, not an actual voice but telepathically, “but no soul is irredeemable. This is what happens when one is raised without love. He does not know agape love.” Whoa…I am stunned.  When I began this journey to create the Community of Spirits, I had no idea how the world would unfold and what the U.S. would encounter shortly. I am not a political person…but it seems very clear who and what she is referring to…and what our purpose together might be.

“You must love the darkness bright.” She says this over and over. “You must love the darkness bright.” She shows me his heart. It looks like a lump of blackest coal. “You must send a laser beam of Light, of Love, into his heart. Yes, peaceful resistance but you must redeem his heart and then his will, will follow.”

“It is easy to condemn but you must join with others and reach higher to love the darkness bright. You join with others there on the earth and I will gather others on this side. Linked hand to hand, we will flow the healing Light of Love to his wounded heart.”

“There is a battle for his soul and we must win for the consequences of failure will be dire for the earth and all upon it. We must love the darkness bright.”

Okay…what was that? Did I actually connect with a saint? Is this some part of my higher Self? I do not know. I do feel it is okay to act as if and begin the task of joining with others, to build the Community of Spirits on both sides of the threshold and see if we can send the power of Light and Love where is it desperately needed.

When I shared my experience with Raymond, he shared his with me. Though it was different in the details, he also saw the linking of…let’s call it energy. He saw a feminine being in white and blue. Interesting. He also told me that there was a St. Catherine of Sienna.

So after our day together, which included another double gazing experience I will share next time, I spoke with my husband on the phone. He googled Saint Catherine of Sienna. While I encourage you to click the link for more information I will briefly tell those of you, like me, who are not familiar with the saints in any real way, that St. Catherine lived in Sienna, Italy during the middle 1300s, during the time of the plague. “I come from dark times too.” She created a monastery. She was very politically active during her time on earth and she is considered the patron saint of the U.S. Whatever this is, it seems perfect for what our work in the Community of Spirits might be at least for a while.

That was my first experience of double gazing with Raymond Moody. The jury is out on what it all means…but it was a transformative experience no matter what. I’ll leave you with this and next time will share my second double gazing experience with Raymond which was quite different yet very, very meaningful.

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.)