From The Sacred Magic of the Angels by David Goddard.
THE ANCIENT GREEKS PORTRAYED their death god, Thanatos, as a beautiful, dark-haired, winged youth. In our Western culture, most births (though by no means all) are generally perceived as “happy” events. Most deaths (though by no means all) are generally perceived as “sad” events. Fortunately, much good work is now being done by thanatologists like Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and Stephen Levine to transform our culture’s view of death, and to empower oth-ers to assist the dying to prepare holistically for their first step on their Journey to Light. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross spoke of her experiences assisting dying children, and of her awareness in such cases of the presence of the Holy Lady Mary and the perfume of roses, giving reality to the prayer Ave Maria: “Holy Mary, mother of God, be with us now and at the hour of our death.” Likewise, “Mother” is the name for God upon the lips and hearts of all children. Hospices, usually presided over by a senior shepherding angel, are a great blessing to the dying.
In reality, the womb and the tomb represent two aspects of a continuous flow. Our perceptions of that flow are simply a matter of which way we are facing. In fact, in ancient lore, the “Gate of Horn” has a sign on its lintel, one side of which says Entrance, the other side of which says Exit. All else is a matter of perspective.
Ideally, at physical death, the prepared soul withdraws calmly from the physical vehicle-the silver cord connecting the physical and the etheric bodies breaks (like the umbilical cord at birth), and the soul is set free upon the astral level. The disembodied soul then translates to the spiritual level, where the incarnation as a whole is assessed by the Higher-Self. What is beneficial is distilled and absorbed by the spirit, what is not is cast out. After the self-judgment, a soul usually passes to a purgative state to work on any blemishes, since few of us emerge from incarnation spotless. After purification, the soul passes to one of the “paradises,” catching up with very, very old friends before the call to go forth comes again. In other cases, where evil has been the keynote of an incarnation, the soul passes to one of the hells until atonement has been made. Our dreams and our nightmares are the frontiers of paradise and hell.
Unlike birth, where the incarnating soul has little effective free will, the transition of death is fraught with pathologies. Others have written extensively on the subject,* so I will confine myself to how death interfaces with the angels.
* Readers might like to explore Dian Fortune’s Through the Gates of Death (London: Aquarian Press, 1987), and C. W. Leadbeater’s The Devachanic Plane (East Sussex, England: Society of Metaphysicians, 1986)
One of the most common pathologies of the after-death experience is the plight of the “earth-bound.” These are souls who either do not believe that they are dead (a very common occurrence for short periods of time, rather like shock), or souls who willfully refuse to leave the Earth plane. Jesus put it very well when he said, “Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also” (Matthew 6:21). If a person’s main focus in Iife – to the virtual exclusion of all else – has been the material realm, it is quite natural for them to gravitate to that realm and not wish to pass to any other. The film Blithe Spirit, and the more recent film Ghost, both deal with examples of the earth-bound condition.
No one should die alone, as Mother Teresa of Calcutta shows us by the example of her work. On the hidden side of life, it is a fact that not a single soul goes out of embodiment unattended. Most individuals at death are met again by their friends upon the long journey, who attended their birth, and by loved ones who have already made their transition. The angels that minister to the dead and dying are sometimes called the “shepherding angels.” They are kin to Angel Cassiel of Saturn and serve under the great Archangel Tzaphkiel.
Not all deaths bring consolation. The transitions of those who have lived lives of evil, willfully inflicting pain and suffering upon others, undergo deaths darkened by fear. Such individuals ate awaited by loathsome, parasitic, shadow-creatures whom they have unknowingly “fed” during life by their actions. These astral carrion relentlessly wait to devour the disintegrating psyche. Also waiting are the victims on the other side who may have decided not to “turn the other cheek” to the evil done to them in life. For just as free will and self-determination do not cease with death, neither does hate or revenge, redemption or love. Even to people who have willfully done much evil there comes, at the moment of transition, a bright angel who will guide them, if they will but clasp the outstretched hand.
Cultures other than ours have wisely sought ways to assist discarnating souls: the Priests of Anubis and Osiris in ancient Egypt, the Priestesses of Persephone in Greece and Rome. In fact, Tibetan Buddhist Lamas still attend the dying and guide them, not only up to the moment of separation from the physical plane, but afterward, guiding them telepathically upon the inner journey. The Jewish recommendation to “accompany the dead” is an esoteric reference to the act of guiding the newly departed safely through the lower astral plane, back to the Spirit who is the “father,” the seed-giver of the incarnate personality – in Hebrew wisdom, esoterically referred to as “the bosom of Abraham.” Spiritualist Rescue Circles and Catholic Requiem Masses also do much good in guiding wandering souls to havens of light, from whence the shepherding angels can take them onward. I have been told of a loose-knit society of Catholic priests who, despite the theologians, offer a Requiem Mass once a month with the intention of releasing a soul from hell.
Deaths that occur suddenly, as a result of violence, accident) or a natural disaster) invariably involve trauma for the newly dead. It has been known that after a fatal plane crash the shepherding angels arrive on the astral scene wearing the mental forms of doctors and nurses. They help distressed and shocked victims, rebuild the astral double of the airplane and then transport the newly disembodied to the simulacrum of an airport, that just happens to be one of the antechambers on the Inner levels to the place of peace. Angels who work with the dying rarely turn up in their own forms except in the case of an advanced soul. They usually wear forms that comfort those making their transition. When events occur that cause multiple fatalities – earthquakes, bombings, etc – incamate humans who have the compassion and the capabilities leave their bodies in trance or sleep, and project on the astral level to the site of the disaster, where they work under the supervision of the shepherding angels. This is one of the meanings or the phrase in scripture which enjoins us to “serve the Most Holy One by night and by day,” and is one of the ways in which angels and humans can cooperate in the service of God.
If you attend the dying, try not to bring fear or sorrow, but endeavor to radiate the assurance that arises from the knowledge of human immortality. Remember, these people are not passing into oblivion. They are only changing worlds. They are shedding a suit of clothes, and will put on a new suit at some future time. Those draw¬ing near the portal of death tend to become very psychic toward the end. It can be very reassuring for them to have someone nearby for whom the unseen holds little fear.
Mentally send a call to Angel Cassiel and the shepherding angels. Build up in your imagination Cassiel’s Call Sign, the Ladder of Jacob, a vast ladder spanning the realms, with the angelics ascending and descending thereon. Quietly speak the invitation:
Come forth to meet [Name] ye angels of the Lord; may the choirs of angels receive [him/her], and guide [him/her] into perpetual light.
In the name of the Most Gracious One, be thou [Name] encompassed by the Princes of the heavenly court. May Raphael be at thy right hand; Gabriel at thy left hand; behind thee follows Michael; and before thee leads Uriel. Above thy head shines the candle of the Most High, before Whose light all shadows shall flee. Amen.
Invoke the shepherding angels to help the transition, to make smooth the way; and welcome them as they come to guide the dying into peace. Then shall the chamber of death become a doorway into Heaven, lit by a glorious Sun such as the Earth has never seen.