In this section we will deal with some of the phenomena relevant to our discussion on the subject of death as probed into by researchers on the paranormal. Two of the most interesting of these phenomena that have been researched into in recent years by scientists of varied disciplines and which indicates the plausibility, and perhaps proof of the survival of consciousness from the scientific angle, are the “Out-of-the-Body Experience” (OBE) and “Near Death Experience” (NDE). These two phenomena are just two of the many ways that the afterdeath state or the survival of the consciousness may be known. Other methods of the occult tradition, however, may include meditation, and spiritualism, or channeling. Psychic phenomena that indicate life after death are those of apparitions, hauntings, possessions, and reincarnation claims. In this section we will specifically discuss OBEs and NDEs and their association with the after-death state; aside from these we will also briefly look into the practice of hypnotherapy, where it is used as a tool to successfully regress patients to the pre-natal state to uncover their life experiences in the higher planes prior to birth.
These experiences of subjects describe in some detail of the nature and life in the higher dimensions, or subtle realms. The findings of hypnotherapy substantiate certain long held assertions and claims of psychics, occultists and metaphysicians concerning the nature of “death.” In addition to OBEs and NDEs, we will, therefore, consider what hypnotherapy has uncovered through the practice of regression, as the findings are surprisingly similar to the occult tradition. Parapsychological phenomena offer us a glimpse of what contemporary scientists are discovering about the nature and survival of the human psyche through the “great initiation,” as death is often called among initiates of Mystery schools. The survival of the soul through the change called death is on the verge of being openly acknowledged by scientists and scholars of academic circles. Why, there have even been scientists that declared that the soul weighs 2 grams!
Although NDEs are laboriously researched into in modern times, this phenomenon was known centuries ago by savants such as Henry Cornelius Agrippa, and even scholars of the ancient Greek period. Agrippa remarks in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy that Plato was well familiar with the subject of NDEs and even recorded one such NDE case in his work, “The Republic,” where he relates the story of a certain individual named Phereus of Pamphilia who was slained in battle and laid with the dead for several days in a comatose state until he returned to tell the tale of his wanderings in the netherworld. The phenomenon of NDEs is likewise no stranger to Eastern cultures. Tibetans, for instance, are well familiar with this psychological anomaly. They call such a person who returns from the threshold of death, “Delog.” Tibetan delogs relate experiences remarkably similar to their western counterparts eventhough coloured by their cultural framework.
NDEs were probably first brought to the attention to the scientific community and society in general by medical doctors and nurses. There are literally hundreds of cases on medical record where dying patients were clinically pronounced “dead,” only to revive moments later in a spontaneous manner or resuscitated with the aid of medical instruments. Clinical death is where the consciousness, reflexes, respiration and cardiac activities are suspended; it differs from biological death where the organism begins to deteriorate gradually on the cellular level. This activity of dissolution is, however, counterbalanced with a form of nourishment to certain parts of the body, and this accounts for the phenomena of the growth of hair and nails found on those who were long dead and buried but exhumed for certain reasons.
Delogs of both eastern and western cultures, testify of their visions and encounters with beings, and experiences of certain conditions or events that their soul was going through in the transition state as it left the physical body before being redrawn into physical consciousness. In NDEs, the transition in progress is always somehow interrupted for one reason or another enforcing the soul’s return to the physical world. Although some scientists are skeptical as to the nature of these experiences, these “deathbed” visions, labelling them as “hallucinations,” there are others who are convinced that delogs do in fact relate actual events occurring in different dimensional spheres. Skeptics, nevertheless, are adamant in attributing NDEs to various physical causes such as mental illnesses, anoxia, brain fever, stress, chemical or hormonal imbalance, temporal lobe seizures, drugs, anesthetics, etc. Such skeptics even attribute consciousness or the awareness-principle to chemical action and reaction in the brain. Notwithstanding these assertions of skeptics, however, it should be acknowledged that hallucinations through drugs do indicate a similarity in imagery as that of the bardo; and in a sense, certain things seen in the afterdeath state are indeed hallucinations. From the occult point of view, drugs, like the process of transition, trigger the release of subconscious images and project them onto the screen of consciousness. The images in both cases are hallucinations, but the experiences are genuine. In both cases the survival of consciousness is not disproved. Skeptics are not able to prove the annihilation of consciousness through the great change. When the matter is investigated with any seriousness though, skeptics are often instead faced with indications pointing to the possibility and plausibility of the immortality of the awareness-principle. Concerning the nature of deathbed visions, Ian Currie, paranormal researcher and author of “You Cannot Die” comments:
“Our efforts to `explain’ deathbed experiences by finding normal, ordinary causes for them have ended in complete failure. They cannot be explained by the medical condition of the dying person nor by the state of his mind, nor by his religion or cultural background . . . the only remaining possibility is that they are genuine psychic experiences” (1995:175)
The majority of NDEs share common elements. A common characteristic of the experiences of delogs, for instance, is their sense of soul-transition as something joyful and idyllic. Resuscitated subjects claim that the dying process is a blissful or a beautiful experience. Some report of even strongly fighting the urge to return to the physical form because of the strong attachment to the dying experience. There are other common characteristics of NDE that researchers have found to be impressive such as a sense of peace, painlessness and weightlessness; a sense of being discarnated and dead but alive in a euphoric sense; a perception of oneself being surrounded by deceased friends and relatives, or a spiritual being of light waiting to receive or greet the soul; a tunnel experience where one sees a white brilliance at the distance; a life-review and a sense of ascending towards the heavens; a sense of mental lucidity; a heightened psychic awareness where one perceives grieving friends and relatives; a sense of being conveyed by a guide or a current of energy to one’s soul destination in the subtle spheres; visions of beautiful landscapes and sounds of heavenly music, etc.
Paranormal researchers have been very impressed by the fact that NDEs cause a very profound transformational effect on the psyche of those who undergo the experience. They have found that the moral quality of delogs improve dramatically by transitional experiences. A reverence for life, among other spiritual qualities, was one of the characteristical expressions of transformed subjects. Psychic abilities are often developed as a result of NDEs. This alchemical transformation of the psyche through a NDE is very much akin to the psychological transformation that occurs to astronauts as they orbit above the earth in outer space.
The accounts of deathbed visions of NDEs very much parallel the visions of psychics and mystics. Incidentally, psychics who were witnessed to deathbed events, confirm the statements of the dying who were undergoing an NDE or a real transition, of the presence of discarnate beings waiting to fetch or greet them on the Otherside. Sometimes discarnate beings in the presence of the dying are seen by ordinary individuals as well. When more than one individual perceives the same thing at the same given moment, it can hardly be called a hallucination, especially when animals also react to such apparitions. Such psychic visions capture the attention and fascination of the dying and weary soul to the point where the attachments to earthly ties are forgotten and the desire for release augmented. In the same work as the above, Ian Currie sums up the core phenomena of deathbed visions that are universal to NDEs-visions that goes beyond one’s cultural background or religious beliefs:
“1) Most of the apparitions seen by the dying were `other-worldly’-dead close relatives and religious figures.
“2) Most of them were there `to take the dying away to another existence.’
“3) Most of the dying were eager to accept the invitation and `go’-by dying.
“4) Most landscapes visions were of `otherworldly’ scenery of such compelling beauty that the dying did not wish to remain in this world.
“5) Medically-inexplicable mood elevation occurred in some patients shortly before death.” (1995:175)
Like NDEs, the phenomenon of Out-of-Body-Experiences was also widely known to ancient mystics and psychics; but unlike NDEs, OBEs, commonly called astral projection in the occult tradition, is an innate ability of the soul to voluntary project its subtle form and consciousness–and this occult ability may be unfolded with the aid of psychic exercises and occult procedures; or induced through the use of certain hallucinogenic herbs or mushrooms. OBEs may occur spontaneously, or enforced in some cases–as through accidents or anesthetics; but usually it is a voluntary practice in the occult arts.
Astral projection may be said to be the externalization or exteriorization of the consciousness from the physical form. In OBEs one feels and perceives oneself aware and functioning in a subtle, or astral body. In most cases, the astral senses perceive the physical form to be lying dormant and asleep as it emerges from the physical body. Usually though, this step is bypassed and the consciousness finds itself in another world, time, or place where physical laws do not apply. According to occultists, the quality or evolutionary status of the human soul and mind, as well as its willful expression may determine the nature of the astral form, and this very principle is being discovered by paranormal researchers. Although normally appearing as a counterpart of the physical form, the astral body is plastic-like, and may appear in any form imagined–and this quality is often taken advantage of by practicing occultists. Creative thought energy is a force that is often utilized by occultists to mould the astral form. Lycantrophy, or the so-called superstition of the metamorphosis of a human physical form into a werewolf is probably an occult practice based on the mind exerting its creative force upon the protean quality of the astral form within a certain mental matrix. It is reasonable to regard the shape-shifting of shamanism, of lycantrophy, to be of the astral form rather than the physical. In the Tibetan Tradition, one of the six realms is the world of animals. This refers to a locality within the lower astral realms where carnal and animalistic souls congregate or “incarnate.” Such souls with animal characteristics and traits assume animal forms as mentioned elsewhere in this work.
The transformable or unstable form of the astral body that occurs in OBEs is reflected in the statement of Filipo Liverziani in his book “Life, Death & Consciousness,” who along the lines of parapsychology, wrote concerning the OBE experience that:
“The projector may thus become aware of having the form of a small cloud, a wad of cotton or a luminous ball floating in space, just as he may see himself as possessing a very clearly defined human form that closely resembles that of his physical body.” (1991:33)
There are often cases in OBE phenomena where both astral and physical bodies are seen at the same time–although at different places. Technically, this is called bilocation. This phenomenon occurs when intentionally or unintentionally the vibrations of the astral form are lowered or densified with etheric substance, thus making it visible to physical perception momentarily–only to disappear at an unannounced moment. OBE subjects under such circumstances are often mistaken for “ghosts,” by Man and animals. In fact, a high percentage of ghost sightings of the so-called dead, are in fact sightings of the astral form of living human beings. As a side-interest, we may presume that, therefore, there are three kinds of apparitions: that of the dead, the living and the dying–the dying person, like the normal living individual, may spontaneously or unintentionally astral project to close relatives and friends. Apparitions of the dead and of the living share many common characteristics and abilities. This is stated emphatically by Ian Currie:
“Both the living and the dead have appeared as apparitions, been responsible for hauntings, communicated through mediums, appeared in death-bed visions, provided post-mortem accounts, spoken of a reincarnational past, and possessed the bodies of the living . . .” (1995:141)
From what we have stated so far, we may surmise that the trained mind may affect the astral form in various ways–it may affect the form of the astral, its density or frequency, and its locomotion. The astral form is described in parapsychological literature as being able to appear in three varying densities: as “invisible-permeable,” where it is invisible to physical perception, and physical objects offer no resistance as to its movement; as “transparent-semi-permeable,” where it appears as a haze to physical sight and somewhat subjected to physical laws; and “solid-appearance–impermeable to matter,” where it appears and behaves like a regular physical form and completely subjected to the laws of three-dimensionality. It should also be noted that the mind, when occultly trained and working through the astral form–and by manipulating etheric energies–may cause such psychic phenomena as the teleportation or the movement of objects. This is probably one of the many causes of the poltergeist phenomenon which is actually an unconscious manipulation of energy done by human subjects.
It is interesting to note how perception through astral senses differ from the physical. Unlike the five senses of the physical body, the astral senses are reported to be diffused throughout the astral form. Subjects of OBEs declare that they were able to see in all directions at once, that they possessed a 340-degree vision. Objects in the physical world are not perceived in the same way as through physical sight, though. Through astral eyes, earthly objects are said to appear “transparent.” According to reports, the magnetic emanations of objects are more easily seen than the physical forms themselves; and as for astral forms in general, objects in the astral world were discovered by adepts of astral projection to be “mental constructs” at the personal and collective level.
Among occult adepts living in the physical plane, as well as discarnates of the subtle spheres, the astral condition is often utilized as a media of contact between dimensions. In the astral form one is free of certain limitations or restrictions where time and space are concerned. This very fundamental law of the higher worlds is an important tool utilized by highly evolved entities to promptly attend and assist incarnated souls (or even discarnate ones) in aligning and harmonizing themselves with what may be called soul-destiny in conformity with the Divine Plan. These guides are sometimes called guardian angels or invisible helpers. These invisible helpers, whether from the physical plane or higher worlds, function as protectors, guides, and as the inner voice of incarnated souls. Hunches and intuitive impressions are often derived from these beings. They also provide strength and courage to souls who are in need of moral support.
These guardian spirits, as stated above, do not always come from higher spheres. Some of these entities are ordinary human beings with the occult ability to astral project. More often than not, they are highly evolved with much soul experience and are able to minister and offer counsel to suffering or wayward souls, or even to fulfill certain prayers addressed to the Great One. In the case of possessions or hauntings it is normally the exorcist who acts on the physical plane as counselor to the lost, confused, or “earth-bound” soul. It should be noted that not all souls may accept the proffered help by invisible guides or exorcists. In the case of possessions, such entities are forcefully ejected from the hold that they have on their victims. Generally, invisible helpers only assist and guide souls who request such help. This very principle is recognized by Liverziani who comments in his aforementioned book:
“In the spiritual world of the other dimensions it is not possible to help somebody who does not want to be helped. Help is made effective only by the fact that those who stand in need become aware of this and therefore ask for help, accept it, and collaborate with those who give it.” (1991:132)
It will be helpful here to enumerate the various points of experiences as reported by OBE subjects. According to paranormal investigators, subjects of OBEs, and collaborated by subjects of NDEs declare the following sensations and discoveries pertaining to the astral body and world:
1) A feeling of being very much alive and more mentally lucid than while being brain/body bound.
2) A feeling of euphoria, of peace profound and joy, with full possession of mental faculties.
3) A feeling of possessing a novel body with a protean quality, alterable with the use of the will–with the use of thought and desire; and that it may be densified so as to be physically visible.
4) Discovery that locomotion is driven through the use of the will.
5) Discovery that the astral body may be subtle enough to pass through physical objects and that it may be densified where interaction with the physical environment may be effected or desired.
6) Discovery that the astral form and awareness may influence the psychosomatic principles of sentient beings, as in the phenomena of psychic healing and possession.
7) Discovery that the psychic senses are heightened or enhanced; and that the consciousness functioning in full awareness in the astral world, activities in the astral realms may be engaged in.
8) Discovery that the astral or mental environment may be personally “created.”
Copyright © 2006 Luxamore