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Ghosts & Ancestors An excerpt from Of Spirits:
The Book Of Rowan_ by Ivo Dominguez, Jr.

ŠAll rights reserved

The Process Of Dying

To properly understand ghosts and human spirits of the dead it is necessary to understand  the process of dying as well as the qualities of time of the linear and nonlinear types.

Being born is not just the birth itself but is also the pregnancy, the conception, and the choices that were made that led to that new life. The process of dying is much like the process of coming into an incarnation only reversed. Death is the final harvest and the preservation of a life's work. In death we shed the various bodies that are the vehicles used by a spirit in an incarnation. To elucidate the concept of death as a harvest consider agricultural images. We cut the plant from its roots  and we separate the grain from the chaff. We pick the grapes and through the alchemy of fermentation create the wine that will last for years beyond the harvest. Each harvest, the most promising seeds are set aside to be planted in the next year. There are limits to all metaphors, comparisons and similes but these clarify more than they obscure. There are many systems for counting and naming the subtle bodies, and I am not endorsing one system over another as they are often equal parts of truth and doctrine. In this description I will adhere to what I believe is the essence of the process.

First, the physical body is shed and those experiences, the learning of that life, that are stored in the flesh are translated into energetic patterns that rise into the Etheric body, which is the subtle body that is closest to the physical. This is the layer of the aura that clings closely to the body. What the body has learned is stored at the cellular level and in the learned reflexes that are stored in the nervous system.

There is a long standing description/perception by those with the sight that there is a silver cord that connects the subtle bodies to the physical body. During dying, it is severed when what the body has learned has been fully transferred to the subtle bodies.  This is the silver cord that is seen by some during astral travel and is an analogue of the umbilical cord. When we were in our mother's womb, we were connected to her via the umbilical cord to the placenta that rooted within her. Once born, our physical body was like a placenta that drew nourishment from the Earth Mother which in turn both anchored and fed our subtle bodies.

Like the placenta, the physical body disconnects from the Earth Mother so that we may move on. The silver cord also has actual and symbolic resonances  to the 32nd path in the Qabala that connects the sphere of the Earth and the sphere of the Moon.  The passage through the birth canal and the passage through the tunnel oft reported by those with near death experiences is in essence one and the same. At this point in the process the ghost most resembles the incarnation that has just ended both in appearance and in personality.  Here the grain is cut then separated from the chaff.

What follows next is the delicate and intricate process of the translation and the transfer of what the personality and the soul have learned during their sojourn on Earth into progressively more rarefied subtle bodies. One way to conceptualize this is the conversion of a large quantity of data into an abstract or an elegant set of theories or principles. Another apt comparison would be the deep insights that hopefully come at the completion of an important sequence of life experiences expressed as a poem or a painting. The juice, the essence, of what is contained in each layer of the aura is extracted and collected in the layer above it. The subtle bodies that are emptied of their essence are then shed, like the physical body, and are deposited onto the plane of being to which they correspond. Even though they are empty husks, they persist for some time until they lose their cohesion and disintegrate. If the ghost is encountered during this phase of the dying process it still bears some resemblances to the person that died, but less so as the process continues. The person examines the whole of their life and transforms it into a mythic saga which describes their journey on Earth with greater depth. It should be remembered that mythic truth is not journalism nor is a portrait a photograph.  Like grapes in the process of becoming wine, the individual grapes can no longer be tasted when they are juice. Then as time goes on, the juice no longer tastes like grape juice. The flavor changes to become a summation of the soil, the climate, and all the factors and the choices made that led to that specific vintage.

The final process is one in which the personality is distilled into the individuality. The individuality is also the highest self and is the part of the person that is truly eternal. At this point there are no more subtle bodies to be shed, rather it is about integrating the old linear life with the evolving spirit of the individual. At this stage, the resemblance to the incarnation that has just finished is very slight. It is like looking at the photograph of a child and the photograph of an elderly person. If you know that they are the same person you can see the similarities. If you do not know, then it is just as likely that you will not see them as the same individual.  At this point everything that could be resolved has been resolved and brought into focus. What remains is that which is carried by the eternal self, the individuality, and the seeds of future incarnations. These seeds contain both the progress that has been made and also those areas that need additional work. The incarnation is truly finished at this point, the person is truly dead. Yet, they are also profoundly vital and striving, with guidance, to choose the proper times, places, and characteristics for future incarnations. The seeds that will be planted are now set aside and prepared.

There are other ways of summarizing this process. One would be to see it as the sequence of the Four Elements folding into each other as we rise on the planes of being. The essence of Earth, the body, rises into Air. This rarefied essence condenses in the Air into clouds of Water. The celestial Water releases the bolt of Fiery Lightning that unites the beginning and the end.  This description of the dying can also be seen as the Nephesch, nesting into the Ruach, which in turn nests into the Neschamah. Another yet would be to see it in terms of the modalities with the Mutable becoming the Fixed modality, and then the Cardinal modality as the last stage of dying. I will not elaborate these summaries any further but suggest that you meditate upon each sequence a number of times.  Each time you do so, new meanings and nuances should emerge. If no new insights emerge, do some research, dig deeper, and meditate again.

The length of linear time that is needed to complete the process of dying, varies dramatically from person to person. The nature of the death determines a portion of this as does the nature of the person dying. Tragic circumstances or dying in an unusual state of consciousness (such as a drug overdose) can slow the process. This delay in the process can stem from the physical body's memory not having adequate time to transfer itself into the etheric body. Another complicating factor is that most people need some amount of time to prepare themselves emotionally for death and the energy of these unprocessed emotions can clog the channel.  It is well known that leaving unfinished tasks can slow the process, but in my experience this only has a significant impact when the unfinished tasks relate directly to the purposes of that incarnation, not just to the desires of the personality that is dying.  If someone presses the question for an approximate duration, my usual response is somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 to 49 days to complete the first phase.

I base this duration on my observations of spirits of the recently departed and upon certain correspondences to the influences of the Moon, the Sun, and the Stars. Thirty five days is enough time for one complete lunar cycle with the buffer of a week for the process to begin and end. The lunar cycle has an especially strong impact on the lower subtle bodies. There are also powerful tides moved by the solar cycle of the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter days. The interval of time between each of the eight holidays in the Wheel of the Year is roughly 45 days. For some, the change in the solar tides equivalent to one turn of stations on the Wheel is enough to push the first phase to completion. 

The number 49 is symbolic of a reconciliation between linear time and nonlinear time as it is the equivalent of a week of weeks. The seven days of a week corresponds to the Seven Elder Planets. When 7 weeks have passed, a complete cycle of the Elder Planets is completed. There is also a correspondence to Tibetan Buddhism wherein the 49 days after a death is known as the Bardo period during which the life just completed is assessed and confronted through a series of visions. The length of time needed to complete the second and third phases is too idiosyncratic to offer any guesses. Moreover, these phases occur at higher planes of being where time as we know it has little meaning.