This is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Enlightened Afterlife, my new ebook centered on Spiritualist philosophy on life after death. In this section, we begin to hear from channeled “spirit communicators” about death and the beginning of the new life that reportedly awaits.
You can purchase a PDF file of the book at the bottom of this post, or you can check out the Kindle version by clicking on the book cover below.
Spirit communicators made it clear that death is not the horrifying experience we assume it to be.
We are spiritual beings who live on after the death of the body. The body will eventually die, but the spirit that resides within it is eternal and will move on to the next plane of existence when the body is no more.
Death is described as a natural and even ecstatic process that surpasses our wildest expectations in terms of the things it makes us aware of.
The most common advice given by these channeled spirits was to stop fearing death and to instead accept and appreciate it for its role in liberating the spirit from the confines of the body and the physical world.
This advice provided comfort for millions of Spiritualists who wanted to reconnect with loved ones lost to war or other tragic circumstances. They also received descriptions of the various planes of existence, one of which (known as the “Borderlands”) we’ll learn about in the chapters ahead.
This chapter will focus on the stories spirit communicators shared about their experience with death and the new perspective they gained from it.
Since the existence of an afterlife is the Spiritualist movement’s philosophical foundation, spirit communicators spoke prolifically on the subject. Their views on the afterlife seem deep yet organized and well-thought-out, and the stories we’ll explore in this chapter are fascinating to say the least.
Julia Ames: Death Is Only for the Living
Our first passage comes from spirit communicator Julia Ames, channeled by W.T. Stead:
“Death only exists for the living, not for us.” (1)
Most people are convinced death permanently ends their existence. According to Julia, however, on the other side it’s well-known that death is a transitionary process from one state of consciousness to the next.
When they become aware of this world they had no idea existed, some spirits feel responsible for sharing their newfound truth with people on earth by communicating through a medium. Some want to reach loved ones, while others just want to share the truth with anyone who’ll listen.
It’d be like waking up one day to find a real extraterrestrial in your living room. You’d want to share such an amazing secret, but it’d be hard to find anyone willing to listen.
A New Birth, a New Life
Death, Julia tells us, is the door to a life that surpasses our wildest expectations.
“What you call death … is really the entrance into life.” (2)
Spirit communicator Gordon Burdick tells Grace Rosher he is more alive than ever in his new home.
“Death, as [you] call it, is nothing more than a new birth. … We are even more alive than before.” (3)
Death is considered dark here on earth, but Mary Bosworth tells us it can actually be a path to the light.
“Death to you is a darkened way; to us it is a path of light.” (4)
According to John Heslop, the simplicity of death can be compared to that of the transition from night to day.
“The change from the shadows into the sunlight, from night to day, is not greater than that between your world and ours.” (5)
Frances Banks describes death as a “gentle passing” into another reality.
“There should be no fear of death for the death of the body is but a gentle passing to a much freer life.” (6)
Nothing to Fear
Grace Rosher’s departed grandmother tells us that we have “nothing to fear” when death arrives.
“We do not die and there is nothing to fear when the change comes. If I had known what I know now, I should have had no fear.” (7)
Mike Swain tells his father Jasper that being born into the world is more dangerous than leaving it.
“Believe me, Dad, it is ten times more dangerous and unpleasant to be born into your world than it is to leave it! Being born is a painful, risky process and none of us contemplate it with any degree of pleasure. And yet all of you people on the earth fear death.” (8)
We’ve learned so far that death provides liberation from the heaviness of the physical world, whereas being born requires a spirit to take on that heaviness.
According to Mike, spirits find this necessary but don’t look forward to it. They find it necessary because the earth offers opportunities for rapid spiritual growth and service to humanity, but these opportunities come with a price.
An unnamed spirit tells us death is merely “an incident” that exists in the moments before liberation.
“Death is but an incident. Parting is only for a moment. And heaven is right at hand. If only this could be comprehended, we feel that life there would be more nearly one of contentment and happiness.” (9)
Can you imagine how much more peaceful life would be if we knew without a doubt that death isn’t the end? Having lived here, spirit communicators are aware of the mental and emotional turmoil surrounding the fear of death in our world.
Anyone would want to get the truth out if they discovered something as incredible as an afterlife, but it wouldn’t be easy in a world like ours. Spirit communicators must have been pretty happy with the influx of mediums during the height of the movement.
The Mortal Mind Sleeps; the Spirit Mind Strengthens
Mary Bosworth describes death as “the final sleep of the mortal mind”.
“Never be afraid of death. It is only the final sleep of the mortal mind, and has no power to affect the spirit mind. That grows stronger and brighter and more active from the moment of separation, until it becomes so educated and balanced that it is the all-in-all of spirit life.
“I found it so, for I went to sleep in the mortal mind, and discovered at last that I was more vividly awake than ever.” (10)
She also encourages having no fear of the other side and sharing the truth about the immortal soul while you’re here.
“Take no thought nor anxiety for the future life. Have no dread of death, which is only a coming, a rebirth, into this life. Do what you can to help others into an understanding of the immortal life of the human soul, and live in happy contentment and confidence of your future, now and ever.” (11)
According to Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, death is a natural process and we needn’t fear it any more than we fear sleep.
“Leaving the earth in the common act of ‘dying’ is a perfectly natural and normal process, which has been going on continuously, without intermission, for thousands upon thousands of earthly years.” (12)
An unnamed spirit teacher through medium Betty Bethards describes the state of consciousness discovered at death as a freer, less limiting state in which a spirit can learn from his or her experiences on earth.
“Death is a freer state that does not limit the soul to time and place as you know it. It enables him to see more clearly the things he has gained during his last incarnation on the earth plane.
“It provides a better understanding of self and all those who were with him during that incarnation. Often he can look more objectively at himself and others, seeing the mistakes he made and where he was able to improve during his earth experiences.” (13)
This passage supports the idea that the earth is a school meant to help us evolve through a series of lessons and experiences that teach us to embrace love, compassion and understanding for ourselves and the world.
According to Betty’s spirit teacher, the afterlife gives us a new perspective on the life we’d just lived and invites us to plan a new life if we want, with new lessons intended to bring us closer to God (aka Source) and inspire service to others.
We can check out our previous experiences and gain a new perspective on the lessons we either learned or were intended to learn from them if we want, and we can use those lessons to plan a new life on earth or a new life in the spirit world.
If We Only Knew
If we were aware of the afterlife, Betty’s spirit teacher tells us, we’d look forward to returning there one day.
“If you could have clear perceptions of what the changeover you call death is, you would know that there is no need to be unconscious at the time of the cross-over. It would be looked forward to.” (14)
We’d be at ease with life knowing something wonderful waits on the other side, and we probably wouldn’t stress as much about petty things. In a sense, stress and resistance to life are birthed from the fear of non-existence.
It might seem strange to suggest that those little stresses you feel throughout the day are related to the fear of death, but they are in the sense that you feel like you have no control over your life when they happen.
Your response to these situations often comes from the subconscious fear that you have no control over the circumstances surrounding your existence. The subconscious mind associates regaining control over these situations with being in control of other unchangeable aspects of life.
You might think that if you can regain control over the situation irking you, you can reestablish the sense of being in control of your own life; a sense completely removed by the thought of death.
The thought of an afterlife restores the sense of normalcy, balance, and in a way, control over your existence, because you’re assured your life won’t be randomly ended one day by some outside force with no way for you to avoid such a fate.
Even if you’re taken from the world in random, tragic circumstances, you’ll live on in a much better place. This thought makes it easier not to stress over little things you can’t prevent.
Not to mention that if we knew we were going somewhere blissful after death, those little stresses would seem pretty insignificant. We’d spend more time appreciating life than treating it as a burden, and the world would undoubtedly become a better place.
The “Monstrous” Fear of Death
Arthur Ford tells us that no matter how many times we pass into the spirit world, we come out each time a different being with more experience and wisdom.
“I’m a newcomer in a land that is never the same to a soul, even though we pass along this way after each earthly incarnation. We are different each time we come through the open door again.
“We have formed new patterns of thought and new ideas about what to expect and, since thoughts are definitely things, we are the co-creators with God of what we find for ourselves here.” (15)
This, among other reasons, is why it’s important not to let the fear of death prevent you from experiencing a positive afterlife. Describing it as “monstrous”, Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson shares some unfavorable words about this fear:
“We have seen the shadow of ‘death’ and the ‘grave,’ those two ogres that frighten so many good souls, filling them with a dread that is utterly and completely unwarranted.
“Man was never intended to go through his earthly life with this monstrous dark shadow forever hanging over him. It is unnatural and thoroughly bad. It has been raised by men upon earth in remote periods of the earth’s history and it has so continued for the generality of earth’s dwellers for generation after generation of the incarnate.” (16)
He also describes why some spirits feel a sense of responsibility for communicating their knowledge of the afterlife to the world.
“It is but natural that, with the opportunity presenting itself, we should visit the earth and, by bringing with us a little of the light of knowledge, we should be able to dispel the fears of death of the physical body that haunt so many people and, in place of those fears, give some knowledge and information of the superb lands of the spirit world wherein we now live and wherein you yourself will one day come to join us.
“In place of fears of a speculative ‘hereafter’ we try to show you something of the brilliant prospect that lies before you when that happy moment arrives for you to take up your true and undoubted heritage in the spirit world.” (17)
The information provided by spirit communicators is an introduction of sorts to a place most of them have yet to fully explore. They provide this information for two main reasons: to make it easier for people when they eventually pass on, and again, to help them enjoy their life knowing what waits when they’re done here.
It seems from what we’ve learned that fear and similar emotional energies cloud our collective perception of death. Spirit communicators intend to correct this cloudy perception we the reassurance that we live on after death.
“Higher Teaching” Received After Death
Betty Bethard’s spirit teacher hints at the “higher teaching” received by the soul after death.
“Death is [a] transition which every soul who incarnates into a physical body must make. It is nothing more than leaving the physical vehicle (the body) behind in preparation for higher teaching, which all souls undergo.” (18)
Her teacher also likens crossing over to falling asleep.
“Death is a change in the rate of vibration. As you go to sleep at night, and your consciousness leaves the physical body, you are experiencing the same thing as death.” (19)
One way you can determine if you’re ready to go, her teacher tells us, is if you know your purpose for being here is complete.
“Your personality, your memory, everything you consider to be you will leave with this energy [upon death] because you are energy.
“Once your work is accomplished there is no longer any need to stay in the physical vehicle which you are using on the earth plane. The body is as dust and will return to dust.
“It takes the energy force of the etheric body, living within your physical vehicle, to produce a being. At death the being leaves, and you could [not] care less about the physical vehicle which is a hindrance, like a prison.” (20)
This quote sheds light on the common Spiritualist theme that we live in a lower, more confining state of consciousness than the state experienced after death.
It’s difficult to exist in this world when compared to the world described by spirit communicators, because the etheric body – the true self – is trapped in the confines of a heavy physical body and an equally heavy physical plane.
The body is referred to as a prison in the above passage – a prison one is happy to leave when he or she discovers the afterlife – but it feels perfectly normal to us right now because we don’t know or remember anything different.
One taste of the afterlife could make us aware of just how heavy this reality is, but despite the hardship that comes with life on earth, it seems like a pretty great place to me.
Life Is Permanent; The Physical World Isn’t
According to Julia Ames, life is endless and the physical world is only one small stage of our existence.
“We imagine that life, our life, ends with the death of the body. What you learn here is that the span of life spent in the earth-body is but a small segment of the great circle of existence. You go on. You never stop. Sometimes you sleep, but you always wake.” (21)
Life may be endless, but according to Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, the physical world isn’t.
“Everything about you on earth is corruptible. There is, then, a palpable state of impermanence. However much the decay may be arrested, you still have the certain fact of the eventual termination of your earthly life, which in itself sets the seal upon mundane impermanence.” (22)
A spirit teacher named “Doctor Athenodorus” describes through medium Stainton Moses the casting aside of the atoms that form the physical body, which takes place when the body can no longer function and the spirit is ready to return to the greater life beyond.
“The spirit-body, your real self, has clothed itself for a time with atoms of matter which are in a state of perpetual change. When the process of earth education is complete, these changeful atoms are cast aside, and your resurrection takes place.
“The rising – an instantaneous vivifying of a confined individuality; a bursting of the bud, a releasing of a prisoned and hampered spirit – at no distant period, after a sleep in the unknown, but instant, immediate.” (23)
Various sources mention the “sleep in the unknown” that precedes the awakening in the spirit world. They all describe death as an instant, painless process that’s inherently harmless unless we make it harmful for ourselves.
Spiritualist philosophy teaches that we have no reason to fear death. Fear creates an entirely different, more horrifying experience that results solely from our thoughts, expectations and the things they drive us to manifest, so in this case we can be our own worst enemy.
Changing How We See Death
The following quotes are focused on the joyful and even blissful aspects of death that have been reported. Death is obviously never associated with anything joyful, but spirit communicators residing on the other side think this should change.
Winifred Combe Tenants describes his desire for people on earth to experience a fraction of the joy he feels in the afterlife.
“There comes to me from the earth such a feeling of oppression, of worrying, of anxiety, of fear of death, and all is derived from non-belief. If they could but realize the glory, even a fragment of the peace of this life I now experience.” (24)
Rather than fearing non-existence as he used to, he finds more and more life in his new reality.
“Here that core of self laughs at the episode of mortal death and seeks and finds life, more life.” (25)
In a heartwarming story that sheds light on some of the positive aspects of death, Sir Alvary Gascoigne describes hearing the voice of his departed mother shortly before crossing over:
I had a good night of refreshing sleep on my last night on earth and, when both of you came to see me, I was in a state bordering upon pleasant relaxation. Every part of me seemed to be switching off gently, and, when the last switch was pressed, I suddenly found I was floating above my body. I made instinctively for the window.
Mother was there, but I couldn’t see her. She said my first words were: ‘Thank God that’s over – I never thought I should have lived through it,’ whereupon she burst out laughing and that was the first etheric sound I heard.
I looked round and saw only you and Lorna. Obviously the laughter did not come from you. But in a few moments I could feel her arms round me and recognized her voice.
Nothing in life comes up to the immense joy of dying. Death has been made such a bogey that it is only through suffering and great discomfort that we are persuaded to let go and co-operate with death.
The body fights to retain life on any terms: it is inborn instinct of the body brain, so we have to re-educate this body brain to the point when it will accept and relinquish its power without waiting for the spirit to be wrenched away through pain and disease. (26)
Holding on and trying to fight, while understandable, can prolong what could otherwise be a surprisingly enjoyable transition into an afterlife beyond your wildest dreams. I’d imagine the main reason people fight to stay alive is because of the fear of death spirit communicators address so passionately.
If this fear were gone and we knew we could communicate with loved ones after passing on, the whole thing would be more peaceful because we wouldn’t cause ourselves harm by fighting to keep the body alive when it’s ready for its final rest.
Purchase Enlightened Afterlife below (PDF version) or above (Kindle version) to read the rest.
- Julia [Julia T. Ames] through W.T. Stead, medium, After Death. A Personal Narrative. New York: George H. Doran, n.d.; c. 1914, 84.
- Ibid., 64.
- Grace Rosher, medium. The Travellers’ Return. London: Psychic Press, 1968, 66.
- Fred Rafferty, ed., Charlotte E. Dresser, medium, Life Here and Hereafter. Author’s edition. Downloaded from http://www.harvestfields.ca/ebook/02/001/00.htm, 2 Feb. 2008, 91.
- John Heslop through F. Heslop, medium, Speaking Across the Border-Line. Being Letters from a Husband in Spirit Life to His Wife on Earth. London: Charles Taylor, 9th ed., n.d, 119.
- Helen Graves, Testimony of Light. London: Churches Fellowship for Psychical & Spiritual Studies, 1975; c1969, 121.
- Grace Rosher, medium. The Travellers’ Return. Ibid., 93.
- Jasper Swain, From My World to Yours: A Young Man’s Account of the Afterlife. New York: Walker, 1977, 51.
- Fred Rafferty, ed., Charlotte E. Dresser, medium, Life Here and Hereafter. Author’s edition. Downloaded from http://www.harvestfields.ca/ebook/02/001/00.htm, 2 Feb. 2008, 97.
- Ibid., 92.
- Loc. Cit.
- Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson through Anthony Borgia, medium, Here and Hereafter. San Francisco: H.G. White, 1968 (dictated in 1957), 13.
- Betty Bethards, medium, There is No Death. Novato, CA: Inner Light Foundation, 1976; c1975 3.
- Ibid., 10.
- Arthur Ford through Ruth Montgomery, medium. A World Beyond. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1971, 16.
- Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson through Anthony Borgia, medium, Here and Hereafter. Ibid., 128.
- Loc. Cit.
- Betty Bethards, medium, There is No Death. Ibid., 3.
- Loc. Cit.
- Ibid., 4.
- Julia [Julia T. Ames] through W.T. Stead, medium, After Death. Ibid., 160.
- Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson through Anthony Borgia, medium, Here and Hereafter. Ibid., 52.
- Stainton Moses, More Spirit Teachings. Spirit Writings. Electronically published by Meilach.com. http://www.meilach.com/spiritual/books/morest/mst02.htm, n.p.
- Geraldine Cummins, Swan on a Black Sea. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965, 11.
- Ibid., 49.
- Cynthia Sandys and Rosamund Lehmann, The Awakening Letters. Jersey: Neville Spearman, 1978, 99.
About the author:
I’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, revolution, music and the transformative creative force known as love. I run The Culture of Awareness, a daily news blog dedicated to raising social and spiritual awareness and supporting the evolution of the planet.
I also have a personal blog, Openhearted Rebel, in which I share writings related to spiritual philosophy, creativity, heart consciousness and revolution (among other topics).
I write from the heart and try to share informative and enlightening reading material with the rest of the conscious community. When I’m not writing or exploring nature, I’m usually making music.