In honor of the vow taken in a previous post, we work our way back to Rudolf Steiner’s processes for serving the dead. A while back I referenced a book written by a modern Anthroposophist, Lynn Rollins Stull. In her book, “Wonders at the Veil,” she shares her 18 years plus experience using Steiner’s methods for this important act of service. I agree when she says how one chooses to serve will be highly individual but she offers suggestions and ideas that she discovered along the way as a starting point. Her work with color as nourishment for the dead inspired me and the following meditation on color and sound is the result I now offer to you.
I come from the Hermetic Kabbalah Western Mystery School tradition. My teacher, Jungian Analyst Joseph Lee, works very deeply with the powers of color and sound. Now, he always cautions us that whatever we put out into the world, we are then responsible for the consequences. Therefore, I am keeping this meditation very basic. There are additional layers that could be added if the Community of Spirits reaches the stage of actualizing to a point where I know and have more direct contact with members. As it is now…I do not know exactly who is receiving this information. So to be prudent, for the time being, I am keeping it simple, yet I believe, effective.
We will work with the border colors of the Major Arcana of the Tarot as adept Paul Foster Caseenvisioned it. These colors were not randomly chosen and each one sends out a specific psycho-spiritual frequency. I will not go further into it than this but know the colors are chosen for a good reason. The easiest thing to do is to go the Fraternity of the Hidden Light’s store and purchase their color cards. These are created with the exact correct hue we want to project to our beloved dead.
Focus your attention of each color card for at least a minute, drinking it in. Then for the next minute as you continue to focus on the color card, imbue the color with pulsating love and project it to your beloved dead, knowing that it is spiritual nourishment. Chant “OM” on a note that is comfortable for you while sending the loved charged color across the threshold. Do this with each card.
Depending on time, you may choose to send all of the colors each time or break them into groups and send them a few at a time but be sure that ultimately you send all of the colors. Even one color a day sent with great potency and love would be a beautiful gift to your loved one in the supersensible realm. The more real you make the internal imagery of seeing your loved one actually receiving the color, the more you feel the bond of love vibrating between you, the more nourishing it will be.
If you choose to experiment with this act of service, I would love to hear of your experiences with it. You can post them below in the comments section or email them me at Joellyn@communityofspirits dot org.
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.
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.
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
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.
In preparing for our journey to Greece, I spent many hours with Dr. Raymond Moodywho is an expert in Ancient Greek philosophy and the oracles. Up until the time of Aristotle, the Greeks did not believe in the gods or in speaking with the dead, they knew how to speak with the dead and had direct contact with the Gods. This coincides with Rudolf Steiner’s theory of the development of consciousness. He posited that up until the time of what he refers to as the Greco-Roman period, man had the ability to relate directly to the gods and the so-called dead via the subconscious mind, which was predominant. It is sometimes referred to as “Aristotle’s fault” and the development of logic, that we slowly lost that ability; something Steiner insists was a necessary part of our evolving as a species. It was my intention to visit as many of these oracles as possible during our visit and soak up as much energy and inspiration as possible for our work together.
I’ll start with the tree oracle of Dodona. Please visit the link provided to get the history of this hauntingly beautiful place. First, Dr. Moody told me that it would be impossible to visit that spot as it is so far northeast, almost to Albania, that most tours never went that far. It certainly wasn’t a destination on this tour. But as I discovered over and over during our journey, we were guided and aided in doing some rather impossible things. However, as in ancient times, it seemed that a sacrifice must be made. For us to make the pilgrimage to Dodona, we had to sacrifice our time on Corfu.
It took us twelve hours on a bus and two hours on a ferry to make the leg from Olympia to Corfu in one day. I had reservations about touring in the first place, not sure that my nervous system or physical body could handle the rigors and the intensity of pace touring requires. Well…I was right. While in a paradise of beautiful landscapes, magnificent food, and mesmerizing stories of Greek mythology and history, I was in physical agony the entire time. Once we reached Corfu, I had to drop off the tour and just walk gently around Corfu City to try and heal my body and nerves. The morning started off unseasonably cool with light rain. As the day went on, it got colder and began pouring. By early afternoon, the weather was so untenable; we headed back to our hotel to dry out. Before doing that, my husband bought a complete map of Greece.
While I was using a blow dryer to dry out our sodden clothes, he studied the map. “Joellyn,” he said, “our next stop is Ioannina. That is about 14 miles from Dodona.” What? Are you kidding me? There is no way, no way, I can be this close to one of the most important ancient oracles and not get there. I’ll never be here again. I cannot miss it no matter what.
On the ferry back to the mainland the next day, still in a torrential downpour, I speak with our guide Efi about how to make a trip to Dodona happen for Richard and me. She was very moved that this meant so much to me as even the Greeks have begun to forget about the oracles. She was a genius guide and sure enough, the turnoff to Dodona is only one mile out of their way. They will drop us off at the sacred site with an hour to visit before a taxi will come to bring us back to where our group would be having lunch.
“Are you sure, “Efi asked, “you want to do this? It is pouring down rain.” “Yes,” I answered,” I don’t care what the weather is, I have to be here.” “Okay,” she replied, “The taxi will arrive in one hour.” We paid our entrance fee and stepped upon this hallowed ground. And…
…the rain…stopped. It stopped for the entire hour we were there. Unlike the more popular tourist sites, we had Dodona all to ourselves. Like the petitioners of old, I made my way to the sacred Oak in my bare feet. The earth icy cold and soaked, clouds blanketing the mountains, kissing the earth.
The ancients would inscribe their question to the oracle, a sacred Oak tree (first the mother Goddess Gaia, later to be taken over by Zeus), on a lead tablet. The priestesses (later priests) would take the tablets to the tree. The answers would come from the song of the tree, the sound of the birds, the flowing music of the waters. Nature…everything was nature and that is what I felt there, the power and the vibrancy of Nature herself. I stood as close to the sacred oak (a newer one as the Romans destroyed with original) as possible, closed my eyes and sunk deeply into the energy of this mystical place. The energy behind my eyes was intense; very fast back and forth movement. I heard the call of birds, the sound of the wind. I’m not even sure I posed a question and if I did what the answer was…at least not until much later.
We reverently made our way past the theatre and back to the entrance, our hour over, to wait for the taxi. A stray female dog appeared out of nowhere. Greece has many, many stray dogs and cats, since the “crisis.” Though the people there are much kinder to their strays, banding together to vaccinate them, spay and neuter them, feed them. They are very friendly and this one came right up to me, thin though not starving, shivering from the cold and wanting to be petted which I was more than happy to oblige. I felt this dog, this beautiful creature of nature, was part of my “answer.” But again, what did she mean? I found out later.
The taxi arrived, the dog vanished, and we headed back to rejoin our group. As soon as the taxi pulled away, it began to pour once more, raining without stop for the rest of the day.
As I said, we were guided and aided in making this impossible visit happen. I am still processing what I brought with me from Dodona, but I can say it feels foundational to all the other oracles…so ancient, so pulsing with Life. And…as much as I would have loved to truly see the beautiful island of Corfu, it was a worthy sacrifice.
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 Leecreated. 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.
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.
As 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…
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.
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)