Studying the afterlife is a strange pursuit, even among those who are attracted to spiritual topics. It often feels as if I have been given a box of puzzle pieces – remnants from a dozen different puzzles – and my job is to make some kind of cohesive image of out them. I struggle in frustration to make them fit, or I rejoice when some part of the picture becomes clear. Sometimes I despair and throw everything back into the box only to sneak back to it later and pull out all of those pieces again to re-examine them, looking for fresh insight.
I have always considered the subject of life after death to be the most critical mystery of my life. The answer to this question affects everything about the way I perceive my own purpose, participate meaningfully in relationships, and respond to adversity. I’ve really never understood the ordinary person who, when asked about their beliefs in life after death, throws up their hands and says, ‘we could never know for sure what happens, so why bother thinking about it?’
I am well aware that whatever conception of life after death I might be able to piece together will be an approximation. As Rita Warren reminds Frank DeMarco (Rita’s World Volume I) “translation of multidimensional reality into 3D terms [..] is always going to have to be intuited [due to] lack of ability to bring more dimensions into representation in fewer. It can be done, in the way that perspective can seem to represent three dimensions in a drawing of two, but perspective only works if the experiencer has already seen three dimensions.” Perhaps my understanding will necessarily be limited to analogy. As Seth (Jane Roberts, Seth Speaks) has always said about religious stories of the afterlife, “They serve a purpose in giving man some plan to be followed.”
Today, I bring you yet another piece of the puzzle from which we may attempt to intuit the nature of the afterlife. The source is the inimitable Frederic W. H. Myers, co-founder and later president of the Society for Psychical Research, that intrepid group of men and women whose careful analysis, support and preservation of spiritual evidence laid the foundation for the spiritual golden age we enjoy today.
Frederic W. H. Myers is well-known for the contributions he made to psychical research during his life, especially in the area of life after death research which was the focus of his inquiry. Even after his death, Myers’ was eager to communicate his newfound knowledge of the afterlife to the surviving members of the SPR. Utilizing various mediums, Myers is implicated in a number of interesting afterlife communications, though none more fascinating to me than the book we are going to study today, The Road to Immortality. His after-death treatise on the spirit world and spiritual progression, in my opinion, is one of the most comprehensible, genuine, and fascinating tours through the spirit world that has ever been written. Before we delve into the afterlife according to Frederic Myers, a little introduction is in order.
Born 1843 in Keswick, Cumberland, England, Myers was formally educated and took up a position as a school inspector. His interest in psychical research developed after a long discussion with his friend Henry Sidgwick in 1869. Later, in 1882, the two would join a company of other notable researchers interested in studying the veracity of the burgeoning spiritualist movement and form the Society for Psychical Research.
Myers’ interest in psychical research and specifically the survival of death came at a time when religious orthodoxy was being replaced by science as the primary means for understanding the natural world. Myers, whose father was a Reverend, most certainly regarded his research as a ‘last chance’ for belief in life after death. Scientific discoveries of the time were undermining the credibility of church doctrine and casting aside old superstitions, myths and belief systems. In this new world of reason, Myers undoubtedly envisioned a future devoid of hope for life after death unless spiritual phenomena could withstand the rigors of scientific inquiry.
“If all attempts to verify scientifically the intervention of another world should be definitely proved futile, this would be a terrible blow, a mortal blow, to all our hopes of another life, as well as of traditional religion” for “it would thenceforth be very difficult for men to be persuaded, in our age of clear thinking, that what is now found to be illusion and trickery was in the past thought to be truth and revelation.” -Frederic W.H. Myers
Myers’ is most famous for his posthumous publication of Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, which is considered by many to be a foundational text of the spiritualist movement. Myers had often spoken of his desire to communicate his own survival after his death, and many believe he was successful through the cross-correspondences – messages received over decades by several mediums around the world that were non-nonsensical until they were put together, eventually, by surviving and new members of the SPR. The author attributed to the cross-correspondences was the deceased Myers himself, attempting to keep his promise of proving his own survival using a more scientifically rigorous method. The cross-correspondences are complex, controversial and fascinating, and unfortunately beyond the scope of this post. However, if you are interested in learning more about them, I will put a few resources at the end of this post.
After his death in 1901, a torrent of communications was submitted by mediums claiming to channel the spirit of Frederic Myers. The SPR investigated and found some to be clear frauds, fabrications or unconscious constructs of Myers’ personality and beliefs. Sir Oliver Lodge, fellow SPR member and friend of Myers examined such communications and determined that the views expressed would have been considered contradictory to his friend’s views and opinions.
It was Irish medium Geraldine Cummins (1890-1969) who was given the nod by Lodge as producing genuine communications by Myers. Lodge claimed to have received independent verification through another medium as to the authenticity of the communication and felt that the ideas expressed were consistent with Myers’ personality. The first work published in 1932 through Geraldine Cummins was titled The Road to Immortality. Myers explores the nature of the multidimensional afterlife as well as the soul’s progression through each of seven planes. Oliver Lodge himself penned the forward where he spoke of his appraisal for Cummins’ work: “I believe this to be a genuine attempt to convey approximately true ideas, through an amanuensis of reasonable education, characterized by ready willingness for devoted service, and of transparent honesty.”
The Road to Immortality – The Seven Spiritual Planes
The afterlife has commonly been described as multidimensional, or layered, in spiritual communications with positive spiritual progression toward higher, more sublime planes and regression downward toward more dense, drab and downright hellish planes. Myers describes the afterlife in terms of seven planes beginning with the physical experience on earth, and each level thereafter becoming progressively less earth-like and less material as one ascends. While the seven-plane configuration is common in spiritual literature, I’ve also seen the afterlife described as consisting of anywhere from only three planes, to twenty-one planes to an infinite continuum with planes and sub-planes too numerous to count. In my opinion, attempting to objectively divide the spirit world into dimensions, levels or planes is kind of like that old paradox about measuring a coastline. It really just depends on your perspective.
Myers refers to these planes as “an itinerary, of the journey of the soul’. The names given to each of the planes are his own creation; a way to convey the character and purpose of the soul’s journey.
(1) The Plane of Matter
(2) Hades or the Intermediate State
(3) The Plane of Illusion
(4) The Plane of Color
(5) The Plane of Flame
(6) The Plane of Light
(7) Out Yonder, Timelessness
The first plane, is of course, the familiar experience of living on the earth, or another similarly dense planet. Myers claims that there are many planets in the universe consisting of dense matter, which would all qualify as an experience on the first plane. More need not be said of the first plane, for we are all intimately familiar with life in a physical body, for better or for worse.
The Second Plane – Hades, or the Intermediate State
After our physical death, according to Myers, we move into the second plane, which Myers confusingly calls ‘Hades’. Myers asks us to avoid the negative connotations associated with the name, for this is no hellish domain. It is an intermediate plane; a temporary stop-over designed for healing and regeneration. Interestingly, Myers makes note of the fact that souls are not always conscious of their time in the second plane, a curious fact that I have noticed in other spiritual communications. A spirit communicator, describing the process of their own death, will often describe leaving their body and viewing their deathbed environment, then describe a period of unconsciousness, sleep or a gap in their memory before they ‘wake up’ in the afterlife proper, with their friends and relatives around to greet them.
Hades is a term which corresponds with the astral plane. Immediately on the dissolution of the body there comes a brief period of seeming disintegration, a temporary dislocation of those parts which make you one..[…] I died in Italy, a land I loved, and I was very weary at the time of my passing. For me, Hades was a place of rest, a place of half-lights and drowsy peace. As a man wins strength from a long deep sleep, so did I gather that spiritual and intellectual force I needed during the time I abode in Hades. According to his nature and make-up every traveller from the earth is affected in a different or varying manner by this place or state on the frontiers of two lives, on the borders of two worlds (Cummins, p. 9).
Although descriptions of the intermediate healing plane are common enough in many spirit communications, the most prominent description of this realm belongs to Sister Francis Banks in a book written through medium Helen Greaves called Testimony of Light. As Myers pointed out, each person will experience the intermediate plane differently, according to his or her experience. Francis, having lived her life as a nun, woke up after her death in a kind of Catholic Rest Home run almost entirely by sisters of the faith, many whom she had known in life. Francis resided at this rest home during her own convalescence and after her healing was complete, decided to remain there to assist other new arrivals. Here’s how Francis describes the moment she awoke at the Rest Home after her physical death it in Testimony of Light:
After the change was over and I was free of my earthly ‘covering’, I “woke up” here in this hospital of the Rest Home. My room had no walls and the sunlight seemed to flow over one all the time. I opened my eyes… of I came back to consciousness…and there was Mother Florence just as she used to be and as I had remembered her for so many years. She took my hand. She said, “so you have arrived safely?” but I must have been very weary, for I can remember little more. I think I slept again (Greaves, page 13).
Another interesting description of these healing spaces comes from Hugh Benson, who visits such a place during a ‘tour’ of the afterlife. In Benson’s experience, described in Life in the World Unseen through medium Anthony Borgia, the healing of souls is contained in a ‘stately building’ built in the classical style, two to three stories high and open on all sides. There is a shaft of blue light which descends into the building which Benson supposes is a ‘healing ray’. He notes, most interestingly, that the souls are all asleep, and would not awaken until the process of healing was completed. Here is how Benson describes the scene as an on-looker:
This great ray was the downpouring of life – a healing ray – send to those who had already passed here, but who were not yet awake. When they were fully restored to spiritual health, there would be a splendid awakening, and they would be introduced to their new land. I noticed that there were quite a number of people seated upon the grass in the grounds, or walking about. They were relatives of those who were undergoing treatment within the hall of rest, and those whose awakening was imminent. Although, doubtless, they could have been summoned upon the instant when necessary, yet, hollowing their old earthly instance, they preferred to wait close at hand for the happy moment. They were all supremely joyful, and very excited, as could be seen by the expression on their faces and many were the friendly smiles we received as we walked among them (Borgia, p. 24).
As mentioned, the second plane, realm or stage that we pass through after death is temporary. We find our first (and for the vast majority of us, our last) realm of permanent residence in the vast, earth-like realm of the third plane, which Myers names as ‘The Plane of Illusion’.
The Third Plane – The Plane of Illusion
The third plane is described as dimension distinctively earth-like in appearance, and within close proximity to the earth itself (not in terms of space as we know it, but on a vibratory level). It is the most populated of the afterlife dimensions, and where the majority of earth souls will spend their time between incarnations. Communication between earth and the spirit world is easiest from this near-earth dimension, therefore it is the most well-described of any afterlife dimension. This plane is variously called ‘heaven’, ‘summerland’, ‘nirvana’, the devachanic plane, or just ‘the spirit world’, and it is exactly what you’d expect: the best, most beautiful version of earth you could imagine. When souls describe spending their time in the afterlife swimming in crystalline lakes, living in beautiful homes ringed by the most fantastic gardens, playing games, enjoying art and music, and generally recreating the kind of earthly life they could never have enjoyed on earth, they are describing the wonders of the third plane.
During the period passed on the astral plane the soul sloughs the astral shape and enters into the etheric body within which he resides as long as he chooses to dwell in Illusionland, that reflection of reflections, that dream of the earth personality. Peace and content prevail so long as he remains within its borders. […] Picture it for a moment: you live in surroundings that resemble those you knew on earth. You are, it is true, freed from money worries, freed from the need to earn your daily bread. Your etheric body is nourished by light which is not the light of the sun. It is possessed also of energy and life. It does not suffer pain, nor is it subjected to struggle of any kind (p. 10).
You might be wondering why Myers would name this ‘the plane of illusion’ when it is often described as quite physical in appearance and experience, with grass, trees, sunlight, buildings and everything else one might expect from a solid environment. Well, Myers isn’t describing the physical quality of the third plane here, but the purpose. Myers himself was perceptive enough to see the third plane for what it is: a self-created analogue of the earth for those spirits who would be uncomfortable or unprepared with anything more abstract. For souls who come through death completely unprepared, the third plane is like a kindergarten; a safe place for guides and teachers to (re)introduce souls to their spiritual heritage. For the slightly more prepared soul, the third plane may be a stop-over; a ‘club med’ for those on the way to the learning or teaching spheres. For all, the third plane is a place where souls are permitted to enjoy everything that they may have been denied on earth until they are sated by the sheer overabundance of it all.
“We have everything that pertains to beauty, either of dress or scenery or gems or anything else. Make no mistake! Your world has nothing to compare with the beauty of this!”
— Spirit World and Spirit Life, Charlotte Dresser, 1922
For the devout who anticipate nothing less after death than what their earthly religion has promised, the third plane also delivers. This is the land of a million heavens. Since we are all guided by our beliefs, every religion has their book-stated afterlife here, and those staunchly religious souls can experience the ceremony of judgement with Saint Peter, or cross the bridge to the pleasure gardens of Allah if they wish. This is a world of earthly dreams; created, molded, and sustained by the inhabitants. Conscious and unconscious desires are projected outward into the environment where it is enjoyed by all souls attracted to them. Suffice to say, there are both positive and negative manifestations of this characteristic. Those with certain perversions and evil predilections are drawn together in less savory areas to indulge themselves until they evolve beyond those dark desires.
For those familiar with the out-of-body reports by William Buhlman (Adventures Beyond the Body, etc), you may recognize Buhlman’s description of the ‘consensus realities’ of the lower afterlife dimensions. For souls who have not yet developed the ability to use the power of their own thought for creative purposes, these areas are the least malleable of the many afterlife dimensions, changing slowly over time as the wants and needs of the large residency evolves. According to frequent astral traveler Jurgan Ziewe (Vistas of Infinity), the third plane now has cafes and strip clubs, as appalling as that may sound to those who prefer their afterlife to be pristine and holy.
Understand, however, that in Illusionland you do not consciously create your surroundings through an act of thought. Your emotional desires, your deeper mind manufacture these without your being actually aware of the process. For still you are the individualized soul caught within the limitations of your earthly self and caught also within the fine etheric body which now is yours (Cummins, p. 12).
For most of us, ‘Illusionland’ sounds just about perfect. There is no need to suffer the aches and ailments of the physical body; no need for food or warmth or shelter. There is no requirement to work to sustain oneself in a harsh world. There is no need of money to purchase material goods, nor want of company, or entertainment, or relaxation. After a long, difficult life, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would ever tire of life on the third plane.
And yet, in all of that abundance, lies the very reason why souls eventually grow restless and yearn for some challenge or progress. To put it bluntly, it becomes boring. The religious begin to question the point of their endless worshiping. Those indulging themselves in the illusion of luxury begin to grow weary of it. Even those who have passed their time on the third plane living quietly in the gorgeous facsimile of a quaint countryside cottage with their beloved friends and family begin to look out at the endless perfection and wonder ‘what comes next?’
Is it indeed as if you lived in a pond, and soon you weary of the limitations of that calm unruffled sheet of water. You yearn for struggle, effort, ecstasy; you long for wide horizons. The call of the road has come to you again. In short, you are anxious to make further progress either up or down (pp. 10-11)
Myers further illustrates this eventual restlessness by using the example of a fictional character he names ‘Tom Jones’ who lived a very ordinary life and died in the England of the turn of the century. At first, Jones is delighted to acquire all that he could not possess in life, and yet he too becomes over-satisfied and ready for a new challenge.
Tom Jones, who represents the unthinking man in the street, will desire a glorified brick villa in a glorified Brighton. So he finds himself the proud possessor of that twentieth-century atrocity. He naturally gravitates towards his acquaintances, all those who were of a like mind. On earth he longed for a superior brand of cigar. He can have the experience ad nauseam of smoking this brand. He wanted to play golf, so he plays golf. But he is merely dreaming all the time or, rather, living within the fantasy created by his strongest desires on earth. After a while this life of pleasure ceases to amuse and content him. Then he begins to think and long for the unknown, long for a new life. He is at last prepared to make the leap in evolution and this cloudy dream vanishes (Cummins p. 18).
At this point, according to Myers, a soul has two choices. The first option is to be reborn on earth or another planet to challenge oneself in the intense joys and pain of physical life. The second option is to stay in the spirit world, but begin preparing for spiritual progression into the higher planes.
Life on earth isn’t easy, so you might wonder why anyone should choose another incarnation over staying in the spirit world. Myers, like many other spirit teachers, explains that life on a physical planet by virtue of the unique challenges it presents, accelerates learning and hastens our progress. One can progress in the spirit world, but the progress is far slower and less intense. I suppose that means we should all be quite proud of ourselves for our courage. According to Dr. Michael Newton (Journey of Souls, Destiny of Souls) not all souls can handle a physical incarnation; many never make the attempt.
Should we decide to forego another physical life and choose to stay in the spirit world, we can begin training in one of many lines of work. Some are naturally attracted to the sciences and help promote new discoveries in the spirit world and with their colleagues on earth, whom they impress through dreams and sudden inspiration. Others are drawn to the arts, or the many healing positions, or the care of children who left earth while young. Many souls train to become spirit guides, spiritual teachers, or a sub-specialty of spiritual guidance: those who assist the lonely, wandering spirits obsessed by earthly concerns or trauma. The ways a soul can progress through serving others is endless, and all require that a soul is willing to work selflessly for the good and improvement of the whole. As one progresses into the higher spheres, the canvas becomes reality itself. The soul leaves behind the need for form and matter and they delve into the deepest regions of consciousness itself. The final destination, according to Myers, is merging with source itself; joining the imagination of God.
Myers, who states that he is now living in the fourth plane, gives us some idea of what each of these stages is like, though lest you think that a soul can reach the final plane rather quickly, Myers is quick to remind us that only “one or two pass out yonder during the lifetime of the earth.”
I remarked before that when souls reached to the higher rungs of the ladder they became merged in the unifying Spirit, and might at last journey out Yonder, enter into the Mystery of God. In so doing they slough form and no longer express themselves in an outward appearance. But those spirits who pass out Yonder do not dwell in ecstatic contemplation as does the sage or the Yogi, they are, though formless, in contact with the whole of the material universe: an incredible activity of a spiritual and intellectual kind is theirs. For now they share in the timeless Mystery; now they are in the true Nirvana, in the highest Christian Heaven; they know and experience the alpha and omega of the material universe. The chronicle of all planetary life, the history of the earth from the beginning to the end are theirs. Truly they are not merely heirs, they have become inheritors, in deed and in truth, of eternal life. You are, as you climb the long ladder of consciousness, a sum in arithmetic. When you pass out Yonder you become the Whole (p. 22).
The Fourth Plane – The Plane of Color
In this many-coloured region the form vibrates with extreme intensity, for now mind expresses itself more directly in form: so that we can hear the thoughts of other souls. At first only one at a time may break upon that hearing. But after a while we become sensible of the fact that we may hear the thoughts of several souls, each apart and distinct from the other. We dwell in a world of appearances in some respects similar to the earth. Only all this vast region of appearances is gigantic in conception, terrifying and exquisite according to the manner in which it presents itself to the Soul-man. It is far more fluidic, less apparently solid than earth surroundings. This many-coloured world is nourished by light and life in a greater purity, vibrates at an unimaginable speed. The souls, who dwell within the first zone, realise that with increased consciousness they have gained a far greater sensitivity. […]
You will understand, therefore, that pain and pleasure, joy and despair are once more experienced. Again, however, they differ greatly from the earthly conception of them; they are of a finer quality, of an intellectualised character. Mightier is their inspiration, more profound the despair they arouse, inconceivable the bliss they stir within the deeps of your being. On this luminiferous plane the struggle increases in intensity, the efforts expended are beyond the measure of earthly experience. But the results of such labour, of such intellectualised and spiritualised toil and battle also transcend the most superb emotion in the life of man. In brief, all experience is refined, heightened, intensified, and the actual zest of living is increased immeasurably (p. 25-26).
Myers’ experience in the higher planes is more mental than physical, as he adjusts to a greater sensitivity of thought and emotion. The thoughts and emotions of individual souls are more transparent to each other, which forms the first steps in the journey away from abject individuality and toward membership of a group-soul in the fourth and fifth planes.
When I was on earth I belonged to a group-soul, but its branches and the spirit—which might be compared to the roots—were in the invisible. Now, if you would understand psychic evolution, this group-soul must be studied and understood. For instance, it explains many of the difficulties that people will assure you can be removed only by the doctrine of reincarnation. You may think my statement frivolous, but the fact that we do appear on earth to be paying for the sins of another life is, in a certain sense, true. It was our life, and yet not our life. In other words, a soul belonging to the group of which I am a part lived that previous life which built up for me the framework of my earthly life, lived it before I had passed through the gates of birth (p. 29).
Those who are familiar with Frank DeMarco’s Rita’s World series may want to consider referring back to the ‘strands’ theory that Rita Warren, speaking from a level analogous to plane 4, uses to describe the relationship of a singular soul’s experience as it relates both to past life ‘strands’ and the future group-soul that each ‘strand’ makes up. Both Myers and Warren are quick to assure us that our individual experiences, personality and memories are not lost; we simply share our portion of experience with others that make up the same larger oversoul (to borrow a term from Jane Roberts), and gain the experiences of others so that more profound understanding is had by all members.
Men and women may not care to accept these statements of mine. They long either for an indestructible individuality in the Hereafter or for a kind of spiritual swoon in the life of God. You will perceive in my analysis of the group-soul that we are individuals and members of one whole. And when you come to the Fourth, and more particularly to the Fifth stage, you will realise how fine and beautiful is this brotherhood within the one being; how it deepens and intensifies existence; how it destroys the cold selfishness so necessary to an earth life, where one living creature must continually destroy another’s manifestation in matter in order to maintain its physical life (Cummins, p. 31).
The Fifth Plane – The Plane of Flame
As Myers claims to dwell in the fourth plane, he admits his knowledge of the fifth, sixth, and seventh plane is not complete and difficult to translate into language. His description of the progression of the soul through these ethereal dimensions are nonetheless fascinating, even if we find them do find them difficult to conceptualize.
“There comes a time when the soul who dwells on the Fourth plane of life prepares for the incident of death. This death does not resemble the death of man. At this particular point in evolution the soul has perfect and absolute control of form, of his appearance, of his eidolon or living ghost. This is the last veil between him and a conception of existence without form. He must free himself before he can go up another rung of the ladder, and freedom can only come through the deliberate process called “The Breaking of the Image.” It is the farewell to appearance, to form as a necessity, to colour, to feeling as a certainty, as a condition of life. Again the soul enters into unconsciousness; and when he is born into the Fifth stage he has cast from him certain attributes that were his when he still inhabited the Image; for his soul was, in part, that Shape of Light he has now discarded […] While he abides in this Fifth plane experience is manifold, is a multiplication, loses, in a sense, its apparent oneness. He lives indeed a life that seems to burn like a flame. It is a time of severe discipline, of vastly increased intellectual feeling, of great limitations, of boundless freedoms, of the glimpsing of infinite horizons. “Swoons of contemplation, agonies of dreaming,” states in which all lucid thought lies fallow, states in which the intense feverish activities of all the passionate existence of his comrade souls flame through his being. He is thus all the time becoming more and more merged with the Unifying Spirit (pp. 34-35)”
This state on the Fifth plane may be imagined but not understood or conceived by a man’s mind. To the travelling soul the purpose of his existence will seem to be, at last, revealed. He tastes of Heaven and yet the revelation of the last mystery still tarries, still awaits the completion of the design of which he is a part (p. 35).
Myers also tells us that fifth plane is where the group soul is perfected, and no member of this union may ascend to the sixth plane until all members have progressed to the fifth. More progressed members of the group soul spend a long time at this level, awaiting the rest of the group to join them. Often, they provide guidance and assistance to the fledgling members of their group, as they strive and struggle through their incarnations and challenges. Perhaps this is the ‘higher self’ that we so often hear mentioned by spiritual teachers?
The Sixth Plane – The Plane of White Light
Of the sixth plane, Myers has so little detail to share that his chapter is a scant five paragraphs long. And yet, what he describes is the ascension into pure consciousness; nearly incomprehensible to us form-addicted creatures on earth.
Now, on this level of consciousness pure reason reigns supreme. Emotion and passion, as known to men, are absent. White light represents the perfect equanimity of pure thought. Such equanimity becomes the possession of the souls who enter this last rich kingdom of experience. They bear with them the wisdom of form, the incalculable secret wisdom, gathered only through limitation, harvested from numberless years, garnered from lives passed in myriad forms. Knowledge of good and evil and of what lies beyond good and evil now belongs to them. They are lords of life, for they have conquered. They are capable of living now without form, of existing as white light, as the pure thought of their Creator. They have joined the Immortals. The purpose of the Sixth plane of being might be described as “the assimilation of the many-in-one,” the unifying of all those mind-units I have called souls, within the spirit. When this aim has been achieved, the spirit which contains this strange individualized life passes out Yonder and enters into the Mystery, thereby fulfilling the final purpose, the evolution of the Supreme Mind (p. 38).
The Seventh Plane – Out Yonder, Timelessness
Myers speaks of the final plane with great reverence, though we get the sense that such a state is inconceivable, even to Myers on the fourth plane. He seems slightly appalled that he is even attempting to translate this great state of being into words. “The Beyond baffles description. It is heart-breaking even to attempt to write of it.”
And since this is the last and final destination of the soul according to Myers, I feel I can only do it justice by sharing Myers’ entire description. As in the previous chapter, Myers can only devote a scant few paragraphs, but they are worth reading in their entirety.
Again the choice must be made. Is the soul prepared to make the great leap, prepared to pass wholly from time into timelessness, from an existence in form into formlessness? This is the most difficult of all questions to answer. Only a very few reply in the affirmative when first faced with it. The Seventh state might be described as the “passage from form into formlessness.” But pray do not misunderstand the term “formlessness.” I merely wish to indicate by it an existence that has no need to express itself in a shape, however tenuous, however fine.
The soul who enters that Seventh state passes into the Beyond and becomes one with God. This merging with the Idea, with the Great Source of spirit does not imply annihilation. You still exist as an individual. You are as a wave in the sea; and you have at last entered into Reality and cast from you all the illusions of appearances. But some intangible essence has been added to your spirit through its long habitation of matter, of ether the ancestor of matter, of what the scientists call empty space, though, if they but knew it, empty space is peopled with forms of an infinite fineness and variety. Actually the passage from the Sixth to the Seventh state means the flight from the material universe, from that space which is a part of it. You dwell not only outside of time but outside of the universe on this last plane of being. Yet you can be and are, in one sense, within the universe. You as part of the Whole—and by the Whole I indicate God—may be likened to the sun; your rays pervade the material universe, yet your spirit remains detached from it, reigning in the great calm of eternity. To be of the universe and to be apart from it is, possibly, the final achievement, the goal of all endeavour.
In a few brief words I have spanned existence within aeons of time, and I have endeavoured to give you a glimpse of that mystery, timelessness. When you dwell out Yonder, you, as a part of the Divine Principle in its essence, are wholly aware of the imagination of God. So you are aware of every second in time, you are aware of the whole history of the earth from Alpha to Omega. Equally all planetary existence is yours. Everything created is contained within that imagination, and you, now by reason of your immortality, know it and hold, as the earth holds a seed, the whole of life, the past, the future, all that is, all that shall be forever and forever. [..] That Spirit-man, God the Son, expressed a great truth when He said,” Many are called and few are chosen.” Only a very few pass out Yonder during the life of the earth. A certain number of souls attain to the sixth state, but remain in it or, in exceptional cases for a lofty purpose, descend again into matter. They are not strong enough to make the great leap into timelessness, they are not yet perfect (pp. 39-40).
Myers’ discussion of the soul’s progression is not unlike those described by other spiritual teachers, though Myers is, of course, putting his own spin on it. Every spirit who attempts to share their understanding and experience with earth must do so through their own fallible perspective, but the core of his teaching is sound. Where it is short on detail, especially in terms of the latter planes, Myers nevertheless presents a cohesive overview of the purpose of reality. Myers makes it quite clear that the mystery doesn’t end when we pass out of physical reality, but is far greater and more magnificent than we can even imagine.
Myers was – and still is – an afterlife researcher. His curiosity, humility and unabashed sense of awe rings clear through his words. It serves as an inspiration to me, and I hope to any who decide to take up this strange, winding path of discovery. While in this physical body, we may never have perfect knowledge about what awaits us after death. But those who have passed into the next world are certainly willing to share a glimpse of what to expect, if we have the courage and curiosity to seek it out. And slowly, but surely, that box of disjointed puzzle pieces will begin to form an image. One of hope and anticipation and the sure certainty that death is the greatest illusion of them all.
“If we can add anything to the sum of human knowledge, as regards man’s spiritual nature, our pains and our labours are worthwhile. You and I may not have the power to bring about sensational happenings, but at least we can, in our small way, help in the furtherance of the knowledge that there are vast horizons quite beyond our perception, stretching limitless into the infinite.”
-Frederic W. H. Myers
References and Recommended Reading:
The Road to Immortality by Geraldine Cummins, 1932
More about the Cross-Correspondences:
46 thoughts on “From Hades to Out Yonder: The Soul’s Journey through the Seven Planes According to Frederic W.H. Myers”
Well now has your blog come to it summation? The thoughts, rather connections, this post has stimulated in me are numerous and I need to go hunt up the references to properly comment.
You are a skilled wordsmith. Do you write somehow for employment?
The introduction of this piece was quite engaging.
Thanks, silrakk, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the compliment but no – I just work in an office, shuffling paperwork like most people. But I’m really glad that you found the writing engaging, that’s very nice to hear. 🙂
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Yes, he was certainly a pioneer! I remember reading, You can not die, by Ian Currie, when I was about 10, which elucidated much of the work of Society for Psychical Research, and Myer’s contribution, especially after his transition to the afterlife and his communications with different mediums around the world. This book made so much sense to me at the time, in that we would transcend to a a reality that fit our own perceptions and dream state, our state of consciousness based upon our beliefs and experiences, and thus most would get stuck in the realm of illusions, creating exactly what they wanted, until they got bored and were ready for incarnation.
I personally, think that multiple dimensions are all part of the dream-state, part of the matrix reality, in which we need to evolve from and transcend into collective experience dark matter, back to Goddess imprint of timeless and pure love and creativity, the ‘white light’.. I guess Goddess created physicality, so that we could experience physicality, time and its limitations and illusionary separation from source, so that we can journey back to our origins, back to source, and in this way, more is added to the Creator, as oneness grows..
The buddhists say, that we must aim to alleviate suffering for all, ’cause only then can we transcend, and this fits in with Myer’s 5th level, and I guess this is why it is purported that we can not transcend until all in our soul group master their lessons, and we need the patience and humility to allow this maturation. Yet, this does appear to be a little stifling for the soul who is ready to transcend and must wait; and maybe instead, we just go where our consciousness already is, and thus do transcend when we are ready and join a larger collective, as that is the purpose to go beyond ‘I’ into WE, and ONENESS, just as a prodigy child skips years of learning, to be placed at university at the level he/she really is?
I remember through an OBE that I experienced when I was 24, the 4th colour plane, which was so fluid and musical and exploding in light and rhythm, in which we were we, and pure consciousness. I think these experiences in this plane connected me to what the ancients called the ‘music of the spheres’. I share with you this video, Whispering Trees, which is the closest I have come to replicating the multiple frequencies and music I experienced whilst being here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK0KVGJOWTM
It is an incredible journey we take, through corporeality and non-corporeality back to source, and I look forward to when I can transcend the physical universe and time back to eternal grace… I invite you also to read: Hearts Dream: https://bridgetcameron.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/hearts-dream/
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Dear Bridget, thanks for writing! Your OBE sounds incredible. I’ve only had one really amazing OBE and even though it was only about 10 seconds long, I’ll never forget it. I flew out of my window into my backyard, but the all the trees were golden and sparkling with light. Everything was almost irredescent and alive. It was incredible, and I’ll never forget it. I can’t even imagine how life changing it must have been to go to one of the sublime afterworld planes. I’ll bet it was beyond words. Thanks for sharing the youtube link – the music is really peaceful. It will be nice to meditate to – maybe I can get a taste of that world through the music..
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You are most welcome Jenn. I’m glad you found Whispering trees peaceful, and yes I hope you get a taste of that world. Experiencing that dimension of flowing light and music, was incredibly blissful, and was most prophetic; a clear directive of my future creativity, a quickening of what was to be.. It came after my trip through the void of nothingness, where I had to embrace my heart and find the light again!
Thanks for sharing your OBE experience too Jenn. The sparkly aliveness of the lifeforce of living trees and nature is awesome, I am so glad you experienced that! :). You’ll relate to this little poem, Golden tree: https://bridgetcameron.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/golden-tree-2/?wref=tp blessings, B 🙂
I guess in time we all will transcend back into timelessness, as the material universe dissipates and we enter a new womb dream…:).
I wonder how relevant modern-day seekers find the words of now long-gone pioneers. I’m a long-time Modern Spiritualist but have all but given up referring seekers to issues I found influential and persuasive when I was first a seeker. None of those issues are any less important nowadays but even to me Spiritualist teachings sound old-fashioned, the words of guides as eloquent as ever but few seeming to want to hear them now.
Myers words will, I guess, have similarly little appeal for today’s seekers.
Its true that some people may be put off by the older style of writing, but the concepts are still very much relevant. Newer seekers might be attracted to introductory books on the afterlife and NDE reports written in a modern style, but I think it’s good to include a wide variety of sources. Certainly, not all older sources are great – I have a lot of bad mediumship books in my library from the 19th and early 20th centuries. A few, like The Road to Immortality, stand out though, and they are worthy to be remembered. But that is the beauty of having such diverse sources of spiritual wisdom – we can all approach it the way that fits us best. 🙂
Thanks for writing,
The proof of the pudding will be in the eating but I agree with you and have found similar with the books I’ve had over the years.
Now, though, I base my observations on the responses I get during online conversations. The interest I see in them is much more about topics such as NDE, OOBE, ITC and past-lives. Just a few appear interested in what’s found in old books even though the guidance is as relevant now as ever it was. But fashion and style are all important – just take social media with its promise of an immediate response albeit often about frothy content. Spiritual discussion forums are old hat, members there few and not very active in most where I’m a regular.
Maybe I’m misinterpreting what I observe?
No, actually I agree with you. There are far fewer people who would be willing to read the 6,000 word tomes I write on this blog, or pick up books written in 1932 by long dead mediums. It’s not popular or easy and it will never win me a ton of followers. Style and fashion are important, true, but thankfully there are plenty of people out there sharing current information at the rapid pace of social media that can provide that information in a more accessible way. I am grateful to them, because they provide an important service to spirituality seekers that I can’t provide in a long-form blog format. This information doesn’t appeal to a wide variety of spiritual seekers because their interests are simply different. My goal has always been to try to understand and share the implications of all areas of spiritual experience and evidence, find the larger message, explore the difficult, mind-boggling concepts. There are still people out there who are interested in that aspect, and I would hope that there will always be – even if we are few.
I love Testimony of Light and long ago I met people who knew the two who were involved in writing the book. One lady who knew Sister Francis and the other knew Helen Greaves. The lady who knew Sister Francis, her sister, Sister Truda, took over when Sister Francis left. Another interesting book is The Afterlife of Billy Fingers by Annie Kagan.
Really?? That is so cool! I would love to know what the people who knew Helen and Francis thought of the book – if they believed in it or not. I have read the Annie Kagan book; I really liked it initially, but there is something about it that I just can’t put my finger on (no pun intended) that feels a bit weird about it. I reference it sometimes, but I’m not 100% sold on it.
Long time reader, first time commentator here:
First, thank you very much for posting this summary of the book and of Myers’ map of the afterlife. I always find it fascinating to read various accounts and see what they’re like; as you so perfectly noted, it is indeed like trying to assemble a puzzle and seeing what parts fit together from different perspectives. Most of what Myers says here makes sense: the plane of illusion sounds like so much fun (I’ll finally be able to fulfill my Superman fantasies of being able to fly!), and his attempts at explaining the higher levels are fascinating, especially becoming one with God, though it does seem a little strange that spirits would hesitate to do so: If your individuality remains, who wouldn’t want to become one with the Supreme Being and help guide, assist, and love every other being in existence?
With that said, however, there are a few things in this read that got me thinking, especially with regards to it’s tone. One thing I’ve noticed over a decade of reading spiritual material is that books and channelings from the late 1800’s through the 1940’s seem to have a rather morbid focus on suffering and toiling, and in my opinion, some of what Myers’ says here shares that same view: If only one or two spirits merge with God every 10 billion years or so (based on our current knowledge of the Earth’s age, and when the sun will die and destroy our planet), then that means 99.99% of all spirits are going to be toiling away for an ungodly amount of time, even if time itself doesn’t exist in the spirit realm. Myers’ message, and the messages brought forth by so many other spirit communications from that era seem to boil down to: “You have trillions of years of trials, toil, suffering, labor, hardship, struggle, and pain to look forward to, and there’s nothing you can do about it, for even if you choose to stay in the Summerland, you’ll eventually become bored out of your mind and end up suffering anyway.” While Myers does provide an ultimate happy ending (merging with God), so many others say the struggle never ends. It’s a horrifying message in my opinion; how is it supposed to encourage me to live a better life if I’m going to go to another dimension of reality where any despair I feel is so much worse than what I feel now? It’s almost enough to make someone want to say ‘Screw that!’ and gorge themselves on as many earthly pleasures as possible.
But then again, I may not be reading this right, having not gone through the book. Based on your reading, Jenn, would you say I’m off the mark with regards to the tone Myers gives? I hope I am.
One other question: Myers says that group souls are a reality, and from what I understand based on various books and teachings, each personality (such as yours and mine) only incarnates once, with the higher self creating new personalities that come after us and deal with the aftereffects of the unloving things we didn’t resolve. Yet, Myers says that the soul/personality can choose to have another incarnation, which brings up the question of what happens to that personality; is it erased? Restored when that subsequent lifetime ends? Or am I reading that wrong as well?
I was surprised by your comment on the alleged “morbid focus on suffering and toiling” of the yesteryear Spiritualist literature. I hold the opposite view, that is, that channeled material very often emphasizes the absence of hell (or an eternal hell, at least; perhaps a “hell of the mind”), the happiness of living in the spirit world, the joy of spiritual progression by expanding your consciousness and knowledge (not toiling at all), etc. However, since you have spent more years reading than me, it’s very likely that you’re right and I’m wrong. Please could you give 8-10 bibliographical references for those channeled materials talking about “suffering and toiling” so I can draw my own conclusions?
Thanks in advance, Ian.
Ian, I wrote: “Please could you give 8-10 bibliographical references for those channeled materials talking about “suffering and toiling”?”
Well, perhaps 8-10 is a too high number, so at least “some” references will be appreciated. I’m deeply interested on this subject, so I’d like to know which Spiritualist channeled materials you have in mind to inform your opinion. Thanks again.
My focus on NDE’s and channeled material is on more recent material, from roughly 1975 onwards, corresponding with the publication of Raymond Moody’s ‘Life after Life’. I don’t focus on materials from roughly 1850 to about 1950 because, as I said earlier, I find the focus on suffering to be unpleasant to read. Modern experience talk about suffering and how it is necessary in the long run, but have a greater emphasis on love, compassion, and forgiveness, where older works are more focused on following laws, punishment of lesser spirits, and how suffering is unavoidable. You could say that both have the same message, but how they spell it out is different.
In the interest of complete disclosure, most of my understanding of older material comes from various blogs I read and the reviews/ samples they post, the most prominent being Michael Prescott’s blog. If something interests me, I’ll pursue the book/material myself, but if it gives me bad vibrations, I will not. It may not be the most honest method of spiritual seeking, but it’s worked for me.
Two examples of the older experiences come here:
1. ‘The Survival of the soul and its evolution after Death’ by Pierre Emile Cornillier, 1921. (http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2017/11/book-review-the-survival-of-the-soul.html)
“…We are told repeatedly that suffering and struggle are part of our evolution, and that we must suffer through many earthly incarnations and many astral planes, apparently with no relief in sight, no matter how high we rise. (Oddly, although this theme is repeated throughout the communiques, it never occurs to Cornillier to ask just why suffering is necessary in order to make progress.) We are also told that much of life is determined by an impersonal Fate, over which we have no control, while other aspects can be adjusted and modified by our own will or by the desperate improvisations of high-level spirits, as in the case of the impending war. The implication is of a rather chaotic universe, whose events are partly preordained and partly ad hoc, and of a reality that remains largely mysterious, with even the highest (known) spirits ignorant of their ultimate purpose.”
2. ‘Cosmic Conciousness: A study in the Evolution of the Human Mind’ which includes this account by a woman who died in 1893: (http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2017/12/a-case-of-cosmic-consciousness.html)
“I had learned the grand lesson, that suffering is the price which must be paid for all that is worth having; that in some mysterious way we are refined and sensitized, doubtless largely by it, so that we are made susceptible to nature’s higher and finer influences – this, if true of one, is true of all. And feeling and knowing this, I do not now rave as once I did, but am “silent” “as I sit and look out upon all the sorrow of the world” – “upon all the meanness and agony without end.” That sweet eternal smile on nature’s face! There is nothing in the universe to compare with it – such joyous repose and sweet unconcern – saying to us, with tenderest love: All is well, always has been and always will be.”
With regards to material I have read, there are three, but finding two of them is proving very difficult. I’ll reply here again if I can find them, but until then, the one I have read is ‘Toward the Light’ by Michael Agerskov, published in 1920. You can read it here (http://toward-the-light.net/Toward%20the%20Light!%20online.html). While it does talk about suffering, laws of retribution, and going through life after life after life, like Myers’ comments, it does provide an ultimate happy ending, in that Satan himself has been redeemed thanks to Jesus’ efforts. Whether that’s true or not, I have no idea, but if the devil could be redeemed, why not a typical human?
I suppose the big thing I have with older material is that it feels harsher and more law-based. ‘You WILL do this, or you will suffer, and you will be wise to accept your misery,’ so to speak. In one of the books I’m trying to track down, the channeled spirits – supposedly high in the spiritual hierarchy, were, by the tone of their words, joyless, loveless entities who’s only purpose in existing was to enforce laws and show no mercy or compassion to anyone foolish enough to break them, whether intentionally or not. My memory is fuzzy on the exact wording, but they even scorned and mocked lesser spirits who were dumb, but benevolent in everything they did. It gave the impression that the highest levels of the spiritual world are full of love nazis who no one in their right mind would want to be around, much less aspire to be like (and as added horror, if those beings were so unpleasant, what must God be like?). As I’ve said before, current NDE’s and channelings describe God and other higher beings as entities of unimaginable love who want to help, comfort, and support us, and that the higher we go, the more we become like them. Thus, my own searching could be seen as an attempt to find out which group is correct: old and law-obsessed, or new and loving? In all sincerity, I hope it’s the latter.
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Ian, many thanks for your response and references, I appreciate.
Most of the “survival of bodily death” materials I’ve read focus on 1) yesteryear mediumship (Elizabeth Blake, Etta Wriedt, Leonora Piper, Gladys Leonard among them) and 2) modern studies on reincarnation (Stevenson, Pasricha, Tucker, Haraldsson).
As for channeled material through mediumship, we should make a very important difference between (1A) “evidential channeled material”, that is, spirit communications from deceased relatives and friends that can be (and have been) verified by sitters; and (1B) “non-evidential or hardly-evidential material”, that is, unverifiable communications purportedly coming from higher and wiser spirits (Seth, Vetellini, Silver Birch, Red Cloud…) who enlighten us about the laws and wonders of the afterlife.
Since I am an “evidential Spiritualist” (or simply evidential seeker), I think we should focus on reading (1A) material, which provides mountains of those very evidences we are looking for. As for (1B), I believe we also should be interested but also extremely cautious about it. What unverified entities like Vetellini may say regarding the afterlife could be encouraging or discouraging to many, but it should always being taken with a grain of salt, imho.
In contrast, what Raymond Lodge had to say to his father Sir Oliver Lodge after being killed in battle and after his identity was proved beyond any reasonable doubt through the mediumship of Gladys Leonard, should be much more relevant to spiritual seekers than the claims coming from unidentified beings.
There are thousands upon thousands of cases like Raymond’s in the history of mediumship. It takes time and energy to read this literature, but it’s absolutely worth of. When you read many of those evidential communications, you find (and feel) over and over again that the joy and happiness of the discarnates seem to illuminate the seance room. “Dad, tell mother that I am fine”, “I’m really happy here”, “The beauty is undescribable”… This is, almost without exception (almost), the kind of messages coming from verified discarnates who live now in the afterlife. Personally, that’s the kind of evidence that appeals to me.
I’m not much worried about the (let’s call them) “higher or highest truths”. I don’t need the secrets of the many mansions of the afterlife being revealed to me. I’m not that seeker. It’s more than enough for me to be sure, beyond any reasonable doubt, that we survive bodily death and will be reunited with our loved ones in a loving realm, and that spiritual progression will be encouraged and timely achieved by our own volition and realization. I am that kind of seeker.
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One more thing, Sergio: Some other spiritual material I’ve come across that was made in the past twenty years do talk extensively about the harsher, less positive parts of spirituality: Demonic entities, deceptions during channelings, reincarnation to try and balance out wrongdoing, etc. but they differ from older material I’ve read in that they do have a more hopeful tone, and encouragement for learning and being better. The two best I’ve found are ‘Spirituality Learned the Hard Way’ and ‘Are you Seeking the Light or Just Dancing with the Dark?’
Many thanks, Ian. I’ll have a look.
Anyway, there’s a missing, unpublished comment from you, apparently, or I cannot find it. Please can you repost it?
I did post a lengthy reply to your initial question, but it’s still awaiting moderation. If it’s still not up by the end of the day, I’ll try posting it again.
Sorry about that Ian, comments are usually automatically approved so I’m not sure why it was held. I’ve approved the comment so you should see it now in the thread. -Jenn
Thank you for your excellent summation of Myers’ teaching, Jenn: and don’t worry about picking up a ton of followers. Serious afterlife study does not, never has and never will, appeal to vast numbers of people: earthly pleasures and pains will continue to occupy — entirely — the thoughts and most of them. But some of us do wonder what if anything lies beyond.
I have never read Geraldine Cummins’ work, but her channeled thoughts of Myers sound fascinating. I have read and re-read the Borgia / Benson World Unseen series, and to me they are the most beautiful books ever written.
While all this is fascinating, readers should still take caution against going overboard about the afterlife. We are here on earth to accomplish something — not in the material sense, but in the sense of our own spiritual and intellectual development, and that of others. As the old preacher would caution his overly zealous flock members: ‘do not become so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly use!’ 🙂
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Hi Jim – haven’t seen anything of you in quite a time 🙂 mac
I still keep up with Spiritualist matters, Mac. Still read Psychic News, and just sent Tony O. a letter. Still sad over the demise of Two Worlds. Still keep up with my weekly Facebook Group. As I said, I try not to get too carried away with the next life while I’m still in the present one. But I’ll stop by SL for a look-see, one day soon.
Don’t forget us at ALF, Jim…. 🙂 It’s not all about Spiritualism there but it is all about matters-spiritual. 😉
Thank you for all the effort you put into your blog. I’ll click on some ads, hope it helps a little 🙂
I’d be very interested in an article about Artificial Entites. While the concept seems juvenile and self-absorbed, logically it seems necessary to have AE’s to allow for everyone’s “dreams to come true”. For example, if there are strip clubs in the afterlife, who is working in them? Some may feel unworthy and haven’t broken free yet, but what a sad state of affairs it would be if real souls subjegated themselves in the afterlife to work in such a place. AE’s would be a more palatable situation.
Christopher, I don’t think we should make too much of this ‘strip clubs in the afterlife’ idea. People have always carried worldly fixations into the next life; just because Jurgen Ziewe talks about it is no reason to assume that obsessions about sex or booze or drugs or material possessions, in the spirit world, are anything new. Swedenborg spoke of greedy people in the afterlife who were obsessed with their bags of phony gold coins.
Rather than wondering about how to plan for some sort of Spirit Westworld, we’d be better off trying to channel incarnate people’s concerns into spiritual and intellectual realms. And if we can’t do it with others: we can surely do it with ourselves.
Ian, Sergio:don’t waste time, guys, on the reincarnation issue. It’s a unicorn hunt: ‘they ain’t no such animule.’ 🙂
Reincarnation is an ancient Eastern religious belief that is the twin brother of karma. Do you want to talk about depressing old beliefs? There, you have a pair. Reincarnation has been 100% debunked by modern demographics: there are far more people walking topside Planet Earth today than the total of all who have lived and died here in times past; leaving NO possibility that the vast majority of those now-living could have lived even ONE prior life, much less the scores and hundreds that reincarnationists would have us believe.
As far as uplifting older afterlife literature, read the Anthony Borgia / Robert Hugh Benson series: Life In the World Unseen, More About Life In the World Unseen, and Here and Hereafter. Benson died around 1910; the books were published in the 1950’s
If you would enjoy something written from a traditional Christian perspective, try Within Heaven’s Gates, also published under the title Intra Muros, by Rebecca Springer: a 19th century account of a near-death experience.
Thanks for your comments and recommendations.
I’ve read a significant amount of material regarding (1) yesteryear mediumship (through Elizabeth Blake, Etta Wriedt, Leonora Piper and Gladys Leonard, among others) and 2) modern studies on reincarnation (Stevenson, Pasricha, Tucker, Haraldsson, among others). By reading evidential channeled material ot the type (1), I’ve been led to the conclusion, beyond any reasonable doubt, that discarnates survive bodily death and live in other realms (or spheres) of existence ruled by love, increasing self-awareness and spiritual progression.
Meanwhile, by reading literature of the type (2) I’ve reached the conclusion, beyond any reasonable doubt, that reincarnation is a fact, for some people at least. When you measure the quantity and quality of evidence contained in Ian Stevenson’s magnus opus “Reincarnation and Biology” (I mean the extended version, more than 2,000 pages of trial-like evidentiality), to single out the best work, it’s impossible, at least for this seeker, to reach a different conclusion.
I’ve encountered sometimes the numerical argument you offer against reincarnation, here and there. I believe it’s also addressed by Stevenson or Tucker in some works (can’t remember though). Even if you had read nothing on reincarnation studies, your numerical argument makes the same mistake that many people make over and over again when talking about the afterlife, which is projecting mundane, earth-bound assumptions to explain (usually away) the survival riddle. So, when the argument goes: “Listen, there are too many people on this planet, and this, numerically speaking, prevents the possibility of reincarnation”, you are uncritically assuming the following:
1) “There are no new souls. All souls are old. New souls cannot be created any more. They were created at a certain point (?), but it’s all over. No more new souls” – However, Jim, if you go to reliable channeled material, you’ll find many references to the existence of new souls and old souls. I cannot give you exact references now, but spirits talk about this sometimes through many different mediums. But, needless to say, even if no spirits were talking about it, it wouldn’t mean that new souls cannot be created.
2) “Reincarnation works like traditional earth Eastern religions say that it works” – This is also an earth-bound assumption, Jim. Not necessarily everyone reincarnates, nor necessarily because of the so-called ‘karma’, not necessarily for reasons conceivable or acceptable by incarnates beings like us. I agree with the great Mike Tymn when he says that, very likely, reincarnation operates in mysterious ways we simply cannot understand.
Anyway, when you have read modern studies on reincarnation to some extent (“Reincarnation and Biology” above all), you don’t need additional reasoning on the subject. You simply embrace it as a matter of fact.
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Sergio, if reincarnation were a fact, then researchers like Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker wouldn’t have to be traversing the world to try to find an ultra-rare case to support their preconceived conclusions. Instead: we’d all remember our past lives; just as we all remember our childhoods. If reincarnation served any purpose — to further our learning, or to atone for past-life misdeeds — wouldn’t it stand to reason that we’d carry over all or most of our knowledge from one earthly life to the next: instead of just a glimmer? What good would it do anyone to suffer in one life for another life’s misdeeds: if he couldn’t remember the misdeeds, or the other life?
If reincarnation were a fact: why would 99% of ‘past-life memories’ involve being a king, pharaoh, mandarin, sports celebrity, army general, etc. : lives lived by maybe one one hundredth of one per cent of the population? What happens to the bulk of humanity: the peasants, serfs, potato diggers, chimney sweeps, cotton pickers, latrine cleaners? Why does no one ever remember being such a thing in a past life?
Reincarnation si a religious belief, pure and simple: no more provable than transubstantiation. It’s actually in the same category as Noah’s universal flood: there’s simply no objective scientific basis for something that, if it were true, would reek of objective scientific basis.
If some store clerk or janitor wants to believe that he was Ramses II or Rin Tin Tin in a past life: God love him! I just wish that serious afterlife researchers would stop catering to people’s fantasy lives.
Sergio, either the discarnate soul lives on in a better (or a worse) realm than this one: or it reincarnates. It does one of the other, but it doesn’t do both. You can’t have it both ways. Similarly, the ‘some do and some don’t’ (reincarnate) doesn’t make any sense either. People reincarnate, or people don’t reincarnate. They’d no more be given the choice than people on earth are given the choice to have lungs or gills, or to have wings or not. Natural law is natural law, in the physical world or in the spirit world.
A far as new souls vs. old souls: as a non-believer in reincarnation, I have no belief whatsoever in the idea of old souls. All souls are new at the time of earthly birth / conception. All the people who lived and died in the past, and all the people who are living now and will die in the future, and all the people who will be born in the future and die in the future. We live here, we move on to something different. When we finished grade school, what happened? Did we have our memories erased and get sent back to first grade? No, we moved on to high school. Life is progressive, not going around in circles. Reincarnationists remind me of a dog going round and round, chasing its own tail.
The sad thing is that reincarnationists, like Biblical literalists, are completely missing the point of reincarnation and karma. These are Eastern religious allegories. . . parables. . . stories meant to teach a spiritual lesson, not meant to be taken literally. The story of Jonah and the whale has absolutely nothing to do with a man being swallowed by a whale and living for 3 days in its belly. It’s meant to teach the listener that there’s no escaping God’s will for out lives. . . that there’s no place you can escape from God’s rule. . . and that there’s no place where God doesn’t hear our prayers.
Similarly, we ‘reincarnate’ every morning we wake up. . . we carry throughout our live the fruits of the things we do. . . we will carry these fruits into the spirit world. . . where we will live in a spirit body. We aren’t going to keep coming back to earth, in an eternal, mindless circle, experiencing rewards and punishments for acts we did in lives we don’t remember.
The problem is that religious hierarchies get hold of these stories, and teach the masses that they are literally true. Then the academic nerds get in the act, and we have people like Tucker and Stevenson traipsing the globe — having a blast, I’m sure — wasting grant money, interviewing people who tell them tall tales about their imaginary past lives. Or, in the Christian variation: leading expeditions to Mt Ararat to try to locate the fossilized remains of Noah’s Ark.
What you think about the theory that stipulates that the archons control us, and keep us in a limited state of awareness, in this world and the next if we get trapped in the matrix? If this is true, then this would explain why there is so much unnecessary suffering in this world ( the perceived power differentials which create so much division and injustice, religious dogma that causes unthinking and division and injustice, socio-political stratification that creates the same suffering, Rothchild’s and other shadow government that initiate wars, and control the media and spread lies, half truths, and rhetoric…) and why many soul’s take thousands of years to learn one lesson (according to Michael Newton’s case studies in the interlife experience), as they keep repeating the same dramas, with the same people over and over again, as souls have their memories erased prior to coming here!) Maybe, even experienced souls get trapped there, believing that they are doing the right thing, as guides to those here on Earth. It all seems a little contrived and stratified to me, with elders in charge, teachers in charge of soul groups, spirit guides in charge of cluster groups etc, how cluster groups are stuck in certain areas, and can not communicate with others in other levels of awareness etc, how soul’s return to the same place each time at death. Maybe all the elders and teachers are just ET’s in disguise or some form of artificial intelligence, and use karma as the excuse to keep us enslaved. If God, is a non judgemental God, and we have made amends for the pain we have caused others, thus have learned our lessons, then surely God/dess would forgive, not put us in the same situation to relive the pain that we may caused another, again and again. That speaks to me of duality and and ‘eye for eye’ mentality, where retribution justifies the means, a very dualistic man-made/archon construction. We all know that compassionate, conscious and aware individuals would never seek revenge on those who have hurt them, so why would higher beings cause this pain? .And, the tunnel of light experience seems extremely contrived, fabricated by technologies beyond our own. Soul’s talk about meeting loved ones briefly, or their choice of savior ( Jesus, buddha, Mohammed or whatever according to ones’ own particular belief system) before their life review, and that many never see their loved ones again. I think the ET’s are masters of perception and illusion, and know how to project whatever image the recently deceased needs to see, to edge them into the tunnel in order to come back here again. I think it is so important to increase our awareness, and break all the programs so to speak, the belief systems that keep us in servitude, so that we are not deceived and recycled. I like the idea of breaking free of those constraints, not entering the tunnel of light( which is fabricated by lower 4th dimensional beings, mainly the greys, according to the society of psychical researches, the Scole experiment which filmed greys in the tunnel ) and moving on to areas of our own true frequency, even breaking away from all dimensional awareness, as that seems all part of the dream factory illusions of physicality ( light = time) into the pure bliss of undifferentiated oneness of creator energy, where we are true co-creators. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WywEir8Srbk I think we are only limited by our own perceptions and beliefs!
I hope dying isn’t going to be an extension of the same dilemmas we have in life. Do I go to the Light? Do I fight against it because it’s a trick? Do I go through the tunnel? Do I instead move perpendicular to the tunnel like escaping a riptide? Do I trust what I see or do I resist the illusion? All the reasons to avoid the tunnel could themselves be a trick to instill fear in us to keep us in darkness.
I hope dying isn’t going to be an extension of the same dilemmas in life too, as that seems hugely limiting and repetitive, as there is a huge vast cosmos to discover, explore and learn from in both in physical and non-physical realms. All I can say about the tunnel is that through all our technologies, we can not see it, and we have come very close to knowing what the physical cosmos looks like: https://www.facebook.com/ScienceNaturePage/videos/1284979764967612/ and our understanding of dark matter is that it is an exact replication of the physical universe without light and mass, just energy; and that is where we all began ( source, creator) prior to the birth of the physical universe( big bang) and where the universe/multiverse/omniverse will return too. Thus, the tunnel seems a little deceptive to me, perhaps fabricated by beings with superior technologies, to entice us, and draw us in- interlife case studies talk about being magnetically pulled up towards it-something only experienced at soul level after physical death or through NDE or OBE’s, whilst we are still only in the 4th dimension. Or, maybe they are beings of great love, that spin illusions of what they look like, so that souls can feel comfortable with them, yet again this seems deceptive, because why not show the truth of whom they really are, and in a non-corporeal form, what does it matter? To me it makes sense, that the longer we are deceased the higher our vibratory rate is, and that we would naturally transcend to higher dimensions or where our thoughts take us, cause just like anything else, we create our reality, it all starts with the thought and intention, and focus to create it. Maybe, the tunnel is it merely a portal to another part of the universe, like a worm hole, in which space-time is bent, and doorways are created to enter different galaxies and/or dimensions? But, why go to a reality that is similar to this one, just to rest a bit, and maybe learn a little more about energy exchange, before having our memories erased and shot down here again to repeat lessons already learned in the afterlife or previous incarnation? If time is a construct of physicality, than interdimensional perception and travel is a reality, thus part of our soul’s experience is in different dimensions and time lines simultaneously, and this explains reincarnation and parallel universes. I think that part of us is always with source, and our journey through physicality, including interdimensional awareness and experience is all part of the dreaming, and the journey back to conjunction( back to complete source once again). As you say, ‘all the reasons to avoid the tunnel could themselves be a trick to instill fear in us to keep us in darkness”, yet again we create our reality, and it is fear and ignorance that keeps us in the dark so to speak, so if we leave our bodies with love and good intentions, then to me there is no reason to fear anything. Trust that there is a loving heart beat that connects us all, where ever we may travel, and that we will transcend to the level of our conscious joyful and freedom awareness, and join the great big heart hum….
Bridget, this all sounds to me like nothing but a lot of Science Fiction, coupled with ancient Eastern religious superstitions. The next world will be better than this one, and it is eternal.
God is goodness, and he is omnipotent. Satan, devils, demons, Hell, ET’s, archons, karma, reincarnation. . . these are nothing but man-made boogeymen, with no more existence in objective reality than the monster who lived in your childhood closet. :The only life they have is the life we mistakenly choose to give them.
Have faith in God, my friends. Live a good life, laugh at ancient (and modern) superstitions and scare tactics. Know that life is eternal, and that a better world awaits us all!
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I have no fear of death, and will embrace it joyfully when my time is due :), I have helped over 60 people transition from this life to the next, and often guide them into the next world, and bring back messages from the deceased ones to give to their loved ones still here, so know that life is eternal :).. That is the point I am making, to trust in the unknown, and in our own power, and the power of eternal love.
I also demonstrated through my comments all current theories from quantum mechanics, particle physics, Einstein’s E = Mc2, which describes the bends and folds in the fabric of time, which are all scientific, not at all science fiction. I have also included theories from depth psychology, psychical research and reincarnation theory, which was also part of early Christianity before the RC Bishops and Constantine 1 got rid of it! I elucidated superconsciousness memories from case studies subjects, under deep hypnosis and the memories these people revealed to well known psychologists, such as Michael Newton (which supports reincarnation and interlife experiences). These could be considered pseudo scientific!
It is important to dig deep for knowledge, truth and wisdom. It is ignorance to deny existing knowledge and especially the dark forces within and outside of ourselves, yet it is up to us to heal our own demons, not to subjugate them or deny them, and to publicly denounce evil when we see it, and know of it, and yes there is much evil in this world, and many who are controlled by it, as they do not know how to control themselves, and they believe rhetoric, dogma and lies from the media, religion, social constructions, dysfunctional family patterns, politicians, and the shadow government who control them), as there is much goodness and love! It is all choice. Yes you are right when you say, “The only life they have is the life we mistakenly choose to give them.
No one really knows the whole picture, perhaps only the creator itself, and I can postulate that even when we die, we will still be learning more, unless of course, we decide to not to. It is all choice, whether we evolve or not!
I concluded my previous comment by saying, “Trust that there is a loving heart beat that connects us all, where ever we may travel, and that we will transcend to the level of our conscious joyful and freedom awareness, and join the great big heart hum….”
I think we should focus on what is here and now, and do our best to evolve, live our truth honestly and serve Earth the best way we know how; yet any inquiring mind will still search for answers to the greatest mystery of all, “what happens after death!”, and we will find that out soon enough, as it is inevitable, and nothing to fear! :).
Jim, you wrote: “If reincarnation were a fact: why would 99% of ‘past-life memories’ involve being a king, pharaoh, mandarin, sports celebrity, army general, etc. : lives lived by maybe one one hundredth of one per cent of the population? What happens to the bulk of humanity: the peasants, serfs, potato diggers, chimney sweeps, cotton pickers, latrine cleaners? Why does no one ever remember being such a thing in a past life?”
With the due respect, Jim, such comment only reveals an absolute ignorance on the subject, since the reality of reincarnation cases academically and non-academically studied happens to be exactly the opposite. And the general tone of your comment is quite telling as well.
If you have an actual interest in building an informed opinion on reincarnation, you have many bibliographical references to start with. The extended version of “Reincarnation and Biology” used to be publicly and freely posted on archive.org (I don’t know if it still is), while its short version is available at online bookshops. There are many academic papers by Satwan Pasricha, Jim Tucker, Erlendur Haraldsson and other researchers which are also freely available on the internet. You may also want to check the website of the Division of Perceptual Studies at University of Virginia, which includes very good resources:
Maybe the reason most people don’t remember their past lives is because they were the serfs, janitors, etc. Perhaps just as we repress bad experiences in our childhood, we also repress bad previous lives. Looking at history, it pretty much sucked for most people.
Btw, I don’t believe or disbelieve in reincarnation, I’ll find out one day.
Christopher, I find it far more likely that their alleged past life memories are really their present life fantasies. 🙂
I concede that I don’t believe in past life regression, particularly the fanciful tales. It doesn’t rule out possibility of reincarnation. It’s also possible that you don’t come back to ~this~ Earth. Why do we insist that life must be linear? If we truly live an eternity, why should it be that the path is always forwards and every door is one-way with no chance of return? I’m also a believer in redemption, and that sometimes we need multiple chances.
That said, Jenn brought up some great points in one of her articles about the inherent problems of reincarnation. How would you ever know who you are? You cross over as an extroverted man named Joe, then later live a life as a shy introverted Jane. Which person ends up being the real you? Sure, you would learn unique lessons from each life, but to whom are these lessons being taught?
Lastly, while I’m no Bible scholar, my understanding is that it speaks to God recreating Earth as the original paradise He started with for the faithful to return to. Invariably we’d have to be reincarnated to experience it. We’d reincarnate as ourselves, but it would still be a re-incarnation.
Christopher, that’s the whole problem with reincarnation: or more specifically, with reincarnationists. They start off with the premise that it is factual, and at every point where you demonstrate the illogic and impossibility of their assertions, they counter with another “How do you know that we don’t. . . You can’t prove that we don’t” piece of drivel.
Tell them that demographers have shown that there are more people here on earth now than have lived and died in the past, and they tell you that “well maybe it’s just a recent explosion of new souls. . . or maybe only a facet of the ‘uberpersonality’ reincarnates at once. . . or maybe we incarnated before, in Atlantis. . . or maybe, on a planet that was so similar to earth, that we thought it WAS earth. . . or maybe. . . ”
I say: or maybe it’s time to toss this ancient Hindu superstition into the trashcan of ideas that some people once believed, but now know to be false: like the flat earth, or the geocentric universe, or the indivisible atom.
As you point out: one of the (many, incredibly many) logical flaws in the superstition of reincarnation is that we can’t BE multiple people: unless we’re suffering from a psychiatric disorder. I can’t BE. . . introverted, aggressive, musically-talented,musically-inept, shy, athletic, unathletic, dishonest, honest, lewd, chaste, rude, polite, etc. I can HAVE all these tendencies in me, I can EXHIBIT all these traits at different given times, but I can’t predominantly BE multiple things that cancel one another out.
As far as the Biblical tales about Paradise and re-creation: I would place these in the same category as I would place reincarnation: dismissable as myths: but more correctly viewed as allegorical lessons designed to teach a point, rather than as scientific truths designed to be taken literally.
Sergio: actually, I was fudging when I said 99% In reality: 100% PER CENT of the people who have told me of their alleged past life memories were those of some character akin to a king, combat pilot, etc. One poor soul — I call him a poor soul, because I truly believe that he was sincere, albeit whacky — actually told me that in a previous life, I was James, the brother of Jesus! 🙂
Another case in point: when I made a comment similar to one I made here to another reincarnation believer, he told m that in a previous life, HE was a Viking berserker. Not just any plain-Jane, run of the mill Vik, mind you, but a Berserker! I started to laugh, thinking that he was picking up on my point and making a joke about it. But I later learned that no, he was being serious.
The general tone of my comment is indeed telling. I recognize a joke for what it’s worth, and I have fun with the joke. And that’s precisely what reincarnation is: a joke. It’s not my fault if some other people fall for it. 🙂
I should also add that while I find the subject of reincarnation to be comical, I believe that it also has frightening implications.
The world’s population has shifted from the traditionally Christian West, to the East, where people traditionally have believed in reincarnation, and where China’s huge population has largely become materialist. Meanwhile, back in the West, more and more people have become either materialist or reincarnationist in their outlook.
While Christianity fostered an ascensional outlook on man’s fate after death — ‘you die, you go to Heaven’ — both materialism and reincarnationism wed their followers’ outlook to the earth plane, with one telling us that ‘when you’re dead, you’re dead’, and the other assuring us that our fate, post-mortem, is to be trapped in a well-nigh eternal cycle of successive earthbound existences.
‘Earthbound’ is the key word here. Both philosophies are such. And you can expect many of their followers to remain so, possibly for very long periods of time, depending on the strength of their beliefs. 😦
Jim — You’re wrong in most of your observatiuons and I think I know why. You’ve simply thought about the subject of reincarnation abstractly without having done any actual research into people’s past life experiences. In fact, of all the experiences that have a genuine ring of truth to them, some 99% percent are memories of rather ordinary, mundane lives. This is certainly true of the past-life regressions that I’ve experienced (four directly and two others “read” for me by a psychic). I would be the first to acknowledge that such experiences are not by any means to be considered any kind of “proof” of past lives or even very evidentiary. They are interesting, though, in that the regressions I underwent seemed very realistic, not dreamlike or fantasies at all — very like being in a three-dimensional “virtual reality”. And there can be scenes in one’s present life that seem connected. I’ll give an example.
In one of my lives, I was a Roman centurion in charge of a contingent of soldiers guarding what is now the border between England and Scotland. This was the early fifth century C.E. and we patroled Hadrian’s Wall, basically defending Roman Britain against incursions by the “barbaric” Picts. I was also a Mithraic priest and one of the most distinct parts of this regression was a vision of the Mithraic temple where we conducted our ceremonies. It was a relatively small stucture and much longer than it was wide, to facilitate the way our ceremonies were conducted. During my regression, I had quite a vivid image of this temple. I underwent this regression well over a decade ago. Imagine my surprise when I recently read a news article online (the Live Science Web site I think it was) that showed a photo of ruins of a recently discovered old Roman Mithraic temple near Hadrians Wall — with its stone foundation having exactly the proportions I recalled!
Again, this “proves” absolutely nothing, I’d be the first to admit. But experiences like this do bolster belief (which is, after all, the best we can hope for at this point). I strongly recommend past life regressions as a way of lifting someone out of their dogmatic scientism….
It would be interesting to see how much in common, or how much overlap there is, between these planes and the spheres in Dante’s Inferno. A re-hash? I don’t know. The whole discussion of Life After Life really got going around 1977 when Raymond Moody published his book “Life After Life”. But I have some new questions:
Near-death experiences. You’ve heard the story:
“The doctors said I was dead. I was out of my body and could see and hear them working on me. Then I whoooosshhed through this “tunnel” and realized I was dead. I saw a “playback” of my Life. Then, I was in the presence of this bright white light (some report a bluish-white light) and I felt this intense, incredible love coming from the light.”
Then, people are either told they must come back, or, given a choice to come back or not. Then, they wake back up, here on earth, alive. And they often report they have no fear of death. Most of them. Some people have had terrifying experiences and are very glad to have “a second chance”.
But that isn’t what I want to talk about. It’s what’s left out, and not talked about, that I find curious:
Think about it. In all these many testimonies (mostly positive), when you think about it, it strikes me as very odd, that seemingly NO ONE, ever, that we’ve read or heard about, has ever bothered to ask “the loving white light”: (and I say this as someone who is not a member of any church):
1. “ARE YOU, Jesus Christ? If not, who are you?
2. Who (I’m asking you), is Jesus Christ? Is this a trick? Do YOU love Jesus?
3. Why can’t I see your face?
4. Is this Heaven?
5. Loving feelings or not, if I don’t go back, and do come with you, will I be in Hell? 6. Would you accompany me into Heaven?
6. White Light—what is your Name? Are you Satan? Lucifer? Who?
And NOBODY asks. Isn’t that strange? Hundreds of testimonies, and not one person bothers to ask? People just believe whatever they’re told by some mysterious light that radiates “love”, we have have no idea who we’re talking to, where we are, where the light would take us if we stayed, or who the Light is, or what the light thinks about Jesus. Feelings of love or not, that white light sounds pretty-darn vague. Why? Think about all this. Share this post with others.