Category Archives: True Stories

Out-of-Body Experiences

 

I often hear people complain that astral travel sounds so delightful and that I make it sound so easy, whereas in fact it is not. I thought I would use this post to quote from my book The Afterlife: Hereafter and Here at Hand to explain why I feel that learning to lucid dream is so much easier to achieve and is definitely my favourite method when it comes to reaching out for departed loved ones in spirit.

‘Most out-of-body experiences occur when the mind becomes conscious, either spontaneously or deliberately, while the body remains asleep.

For me, this phenomenon began spontaneously in my teens, at least 15 years before I fully understood what it meant. I would be asleep, when my mind would suddenly wake up and I could not control my physical body. This happened whenever I stayed up late studying, or if I fell asleep exhausted for an hour or so in the afternoon – in other words, when my body was particularly tired, but my mind was still alert or overstimulated.

Like me, many students and athletes have reported the experience of ‘waking up’ in a paralysed body; or of being unable to open their eyelids, while hearing a buzzing sound or feeling a strong vibration in their heads; or of trying to shout out, but being incapable of uttering the merest whisper. Needless to say, it is an unpleasant sensation.

I recently learnt that this apparent anomaly – the early stage of which is known as ‘sleep paralysis’ – is due to the muscles in the body ‘turning off’ during REM sleep. If we did not experience this ‘atony’, or functional paralysis of the muscles, our bodies would physically react to whatever we do or see in our dreams, which could be dangerous for us.

Thus, if the mind is alert, while the body is still asleep, you may experience the unpleasant sensation of being prisoner to your paralysed body. This is often accompanied by feelings of anxiety, fear or terror. However, objectively speaking, it is usually a brief experience.

As a teenager, having ruled out the possibility of any serious illness and resigning myself to these episodes, I devised a way out of the situation, by waking my body. I would imagine myself doing something that required intense concentration, such as two completely different movements with my hands – for instance, making a circle with one, while moving the other up and down – and this would be enough to wake my body.

These episodes of nocturnal paralysis continued for many years, until I discovered they were really a doorway to another world.

I was 29 and under a great deal of stress. I had recently been promoted and moved to the Milan branch of the company I worked for, but I had not found a place to rent, so I was still living in a hotel after four long months. One night, around midnight, I grew drowsy, when I felt the familiar sensation of heaviness in my limbs and the buzzing sound in my head. Only, this time, instead of struggling against my paralysed body, I was amazed to find that my hands and arms were ‘flying away’, detached from my real arms.

In shock, I instinctively pulled them down and woke up completely, physically as well as mentally. What had happened? Had I gone mad?

I had previously read that when the mind is awake in a sleeping body – a state referred to as ‘mind awake, body asleep’ – our consciousness is free to leave the body and move on other planes, in other dimensions. Those who are familiar with this subject generally talk of the ‘astral plane’, on which we move with this second, more subtle body, similarly called the ‘astral body’.

With this in mind, I soon realised that my physical limbs must have been paralysed as usual, and my consciousness (which had stayed awake and lucid enough to record the episode) had witnessed my ‘other arms’ flying away, i.e. the arms belonging to my astral body.

According to researchers, everyone and everything exists both in the physical and the astral dimensions. The astral aspect of the self is somewhat independent of the physical aspect. It changes and moves very fluidly and with great ease according to our thoughts, and sometimes ‘operates’ autonomously even when we are awake. For example, on more than one occasion, during a boring conference that made me feel drowsy, I have seen the astral forms of certain members of the audience move, turn, look around, look at the people next to them, while their physical counterparts sat practically still, listening to the speaker. Sometimes, while on the verge of sleep, I have seen my husband wander around the house, doing odd jobs, while his physical counterpart was tens of miles away.

This is what is called the ‘astral body’. It is a body that is not bound by the laws of space and time, is free to do the things that we only daydream about and, during an out-of-body experience, is as solid and tangible as a discarnate spirit, enabling us to touch and speak to our loved ones in the Afterlife.

Later in life I discovered that, when the physical body was asleep and the mind was awake, I could walk or fly with my astral body in the astral version of my bedroom or of the rest of the house. I could fly about the neighbourhood, reach distant places in no time and meet other people who were awake or asleep, wandering about in their astral bodies. I could even temporarily ‘cross over’, meet the deceased and visit where they reside. I have also seen special reception areas designed for such meetings with the deceased, and have found that it is possible to move in time and meet future or past versions of my loved ones.

In those early weeks and months following my first experience on the astral plane, I discovered that, when the mind wakes up and the body is still asleep, the body is no longer a barrier; it is no longer solid, but yielding and porous, composed of an energy that could easily be passed through. Not only was I able to leave that body, but I could push my astral hands through it. Likewise, I could sink through the mattress or pass through walls, sometimes feeling a faint vibration or tingle. I could float up to the ceiling like a balloon, or drift down to within a few inches of the floor.

I could also look at myself in the mirror and see my astral body reflected back at me. This soon became a habit I have continued to this day. Since the idea of looking at my body asleep in bed repulsed me – even though I had no issue with touching it, and even enjoyed listening to the rhythmic sound of my breathing – I found that looking at my astral body in the mirror was a daunting task. Furthermore, over the years, I have discovered that it gives me a much more accurate idea of my deeper emotional state than my physical body reveals.

For example, during the period of these early experiments with astral travel, I was a rather solitary person. I lived about 25 miles from my workplace and had no friends in town. I also had trouble adjusting to my move from Piedmont; so, despite being happy with my work, I was not quite what you would call a happy person.

The first few times I faced my astral body in the mirror, I was surprised to see that, while my physical body appeared attractive and well-presented, my hair swept up and my face framed with a different pair of earrings each day, my astral body looked emaciated, bruised and covered in plasters; my hair was dishevelled (once, I even wore curlers) and my clothes were always drab or tatty. Luckily, I have long been intuitive, so I did not let these images drag down my self-esteem. Instead, I immediately realised they were projections of my sad and lonely emotional self.

Over the years, I have seen myself many times in the mirror during my out-of-body experiences. After having a child and forming a family, I watched my astral body grow younger, more beautiful and more cheerful.

A more recent example of the images I have seen in astral mirrors occurred during a period of serious illness, after I underwent months of treatment that temporarily made my hair fall out. The mirror I looked in was in a more spacious, better-lit place than my physical house, in a room specifically designed for rest and physical recovery. The image reflected back at me was that of a beautiful woman, at least ten years younger than I, with long flowing hair. Oddly, her eyes were covered in a red veneer of fear. As I gazed at her face, I realised how crucial it was to overcome my fear and be confident about the future, if I were to get better. Months later, the results of my CT scan and full medical check-up finally put my mind at ease. When I next saw myself in the mirror on the astral plane, my reflection now had two enormous green eyes bearing no traces of fear.

I would like to stress that, in addition to reflecting my own image, as well as the images of any entities around me, over the years I have found mirrors to be extremely efficient portals, taking me quickly from the astral plane to whatever ‘place’ I wish to go to, especially if it is to meet a particular person, whether alive or dead.

 

 

Alice Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carrol is the book that most probably influenced me in this regard.

 

 

For example, during an out-of-body experience in January 2009 (two years prior to the therapy that made my hair fall out), I asked to meet Master Jesus, for whom I have always had a special fondness, particularly for his love of children. I was in a colourful, beautifully scented pine grove, but at the same time – and this was particularly odd – I could see a starry sky, as if it were nighttime. Jesus was teaching in a kind of institute, but he came outside specially to meet me. He had his traditional beard and long hair, but wore modern casual clothes: jeans and a shirt with the sleeves turned up at the cuffs. Looking into my eyes, he transmitted a thought to me that came from Scripture, which would later turn out to be extremely significant: he told me he knew the number of hairs I had on my head!

To return to the night in the autumn of 1990 when my arms ‘flew away’, from that moment on, I began to read everything I could lay my hands on about astral travel. At the time, I did not have the Internet and I could not really bring up the subject with my normal circle of acquaintances without seeming ‘weird’. The first book I devoured was Journeys Out of the Body by Robert Monroe. Numerous others followed. I read and I practised. As I was single, I could give free rein to my imagination. I spent Saturdays and Sundays alone in my flat, with the phone unplugged and the doorbell silenced, so I could explore.

Since I kept a diary of my dreams and my OBEs, I discovered an experience that is very common and quite similar to astral travel. During a dream, the dreamer is aware of dreaming and, to a certain extent, able to control what is happening. ‘Lucid dreaming’, as it is known, is where we are aware of dreaming: we are conscious, but still partly in the dream state. Therefore, even the strangest or unlikeliest of things may continue to seem normal.

There are various degrees of lucidity during a lucid dream, which can be intentionally heightened to achieve an OBE. However, in an actual OBE, the mind is fully awake, albeit our priorities may be slightly different from when we are in a waking state, because our perspective is broader. The separation we experience in this dimension gives us the clear perception that we are moving in a body similar to the physical body, yet different and not subject to the laws of the physical world.

These unique and moving experiences have continued, both spontaneously and intentionally, for the last 26 years. Time, experience and my reading and thinking on this subject have made me realise that the ‘places’ I visit during my astral projections are not so much ‘outside’ of my physical body, as the name might suggest, but are inner dimensions of my consciousness and spirit. This, however, remains a subject for further debate, since the concepts of ‘in’ and ‘out’ do not hold the same importance beyond the physical plane.

In other words, everything we see and touch while awake and in our ordinary state of consciousness has an internal and an external aspect here on the physical plane; but beyond this dimension, the concepts of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ cease to be important. Hence, any discussion of whether the astral plane is ‘outside’ the physical dimension—as if it were some kind of energy screen surrounding us—or ‘inside’ it—as if it were the outermost part of the spiritual nucleus that is our very essence—is purely theoretical and perhaps irrelevant.

William Buhlman, one of America’s leading experts on OBEs, has defined astral projection as an inward journey. For my part, this particular interpretation has released me from a number of fears, the first of these being the fear of staying ‘locked out’ of my body or seeing the silver cord between the astral body and the physical body break while I was still outside my physical vehicle.

Regardless of such speculations, the fact remains that, although I spent the first years of my explorations focusing on the closest plane to the physical dimension, it did not take long for the desire to visit my loved ones in the Afterlife to take over.

… I would like to emphasise one last time my opinion that astral travel is nothing more than a state of greater lucidity than a lucid dream, in which we are aware that we are dreaming. I would also like to emphasise that lucid dreaming can, if we so desire, be the launch pad to astral travel: if we are aware that we are dreaming and conscious of what is happening, we can choose to heighten our lucidity and move into an actual OBE.

Although it may seem superfluous at this stage, I would like to underline my total disagreement with scholars, practitioners and teachers of lucid dreaming like Charlie Morley who consider 99% of the entities met during a lucid dream to be dream characters (or DCs) —in other words, mere products of the dreaming mind. Although I agree with the broader concept that this life is like a dream from which we wake up and return to our wider reality when we die, I do not find this a valid reason to negate the absolute authenticity and individuality of the incarnate or discarnate spirits we might encounter in the waking state or in other modified states of consciousness such as dreams or OBEs.’

[Quoted from The Afterlife: Hereafter and Here at Hand]

The reason I do not usually encourage people to learn to astral travel is because, in out-of-body experiences, our mind is wide awake, and all our logical and rational filters are in place, whereas with lucid dreaming, the mind is somewhat ‘sedated’ and able to accept insights and ideas that may not make sense when awake but be full of meaning when we are asleep.

The reason I often refer to my out-of-body experiences when teaching how to reach out for our loved ones in the Afterlife is simply in order to provide practical evidence to back up the experiences that are within everyone’s grasp, through dreams, lucid dreams and meditation.

 

 

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Julia’s Bureau

The following words were spoken beyond the grave by Julia to her friend Ellen as part of a series of letters, Letters from Julia, channelled by W.T. Stead. Published for the first time by the Borderland magazine between 1893 and 1897, Julia’s letters were subsequently published in a single volume called After Death, Enlarged Edition on Letters from Julia, by Stead’s Publishing House, London, 1914.

While my hand was writing a letter to Ellen I thought, “I wonder if the new life
surprised Julia much.” Instantly she wrote –

Yes, I was not prepared for such oneness in the life on both sides.
When the soul leaves the body it remains exactly the same as when it was in the body;
the soul, which is the only real self, and which uses the mind and the body as its
instruments, no longer has the use or the need of the body. But it retains the mind, the
knowledge, the experience, the habits of thought, the inclinations; they remain exactly
as they were. Only it often happens that the gradual decay of the fleshy envelope to
some extent obscures and impairs the real self which is liberated by death. The most
extraordinary thing which came to my knowledge when I passed over was the
difference between the apparent man and the real self.

It gave quite a new meaning to the warning, “Judge not,” for the real self is built up
even more by the use it makes of the mind than by the use it makes of the body…

Thought has much greater reality than you imagine. The day-dreamer is not so idle as
you imagine. The influence of his idealizing speculation may not make him work, but it
may be felt imperceptibly by more practical minds. And so, in like manner, the man
who in his innermost heart gives himself up to evil and unclean thoughts may be
generating forces, the evil influences of which stir the passions and ruin the lives it may
be of his own children, who possibly never knew that their father had ever had a
thought of sin.

Hence on this side things seem so topsy-turvy. The first are last, the last first…

Then there is another thing that surprised me not a little, and that was or is the
discovery of the nothingness of things. I mean by that the entire nothingness of most
things which seemed to one on earth the most important of things. For instance,
money, rank, worth, merit, station, and all the things we most prize when on earth, are
simply nothing. They don’t exist anymore than the mist of yesterday or the weather of
last year. They were no doubt influential for a time, but they do not last; they pass as
the cloud passes, and are not visible anymore.

I want to ask you if you can help me at all in a matter in which I am much interested. I
have long wanted to establish a place where those who have passed over could
communicate with the loved ones behind. At present the world is full of spirits longing
to speak to those from whom they have been parted, just as I longed to speak to you,
but without finding a hand to enable them to write. It is a strange spectacle. On your
side, souls full of anguish for bereavement; on this side, souls full of sadness because
they cannot communicate with those whom they love. What can be done to bring these
sombre, sorrow-laden persons together? To do so requires something which we cannot
supply. You must help. But how? It is not impossible. And when it is done death will
have lost its sting and the grave its victory. The apostle thought this was done. But the
grave has not been so easily defeated, and death keeps its sting. Who can console us for
the loss of our beloved? Only those who can show us that they are not lost, but are with
us more than ever. Do you not think I have been much more with Ellen since I put off
my flesh than I used to be? Why, I dwell with her in a way that before was quite
impossible. I was never more with her than I have been since I came to this side. But
she would not have known it, nor would you have heard from me at all but for the
accident of your meeting.

What is wanted is a bureau of communication between the two sides. Could you not
establish some sort of office with one or more trust-worthy mediums ? If only it were to
enable the sorrowing on the earth to know, if only for once, that their so-called dead
live nearer them than ever before, it would help to dry many a tear and soothe many a
sorrow. I think you could count upon the eager co-operation of all on this side.

We on this side are full of joy at the hope of this coming to pass. Imagine how grieved
we must be to see so many whom we love, sorrowing without hope, when those for
whom they sorrow are trying in vain every means to make them conscious of their
presence. And many also are racked with agony, imagining that their loved ones are
lost in hell, when in reality they have been found in the all-embracing arms of the love
of God. Ellen, dear, do talk of this with Minerva, and see what can be done. It is the
most important thing there is to do. For it brings with it the trump of the Archangel,
when those that were in their graves shall awake and walk forth once more among men.
I was at first astonished to learn how much importance the spirits attach to the
communications which they are allowed to have with those on earth. I can, of course,
easily understand, because I feel it myself – the craving there is to speak to those whom
you loved and whom you love; but it is much more than this. What they tell me on all
sides, and especially my dear guides, is that the time is come when there is to be a great
awakening among the nations, and that the agency which is to bring this about is the
sudden and conclusive demonstration, in every individual case which seeks for it, of the
reality of the spirit, of the permanence of the soul, and the immanence of the Divine. I
said: “But how can I help?

She wrote: “You are a good writing medium. If you would allow your hand to be used
by the spirit of any on this side whose relatives or friends wished to hear from them,
you could depend almost confidently upon the spirit using your hand. At any rate, I
could always explain why they could not use your hand.”

You can read more in:

In 1892, William Stead discovered he had the gift of automatic writing and it was then that a discarnate entity claiming to be Julia Ames began to write using Stead’s hand. “Sitting alone with a tranquil mind, I consciously placed my right hand, with the pen held in the ordinary way, at the disposal of Julia, and watched with keen and skeptical interest to see what it would write.” Stead wrote at the time.

Julia Ames was a professional journalist who also edited the The Woman’s Union Signal of Chicago. Ames had passed away during December 1891 and she and Stead had been friends. Her closest friend was a woman named Ellen who Stead also knew. Julia told Stead she wanted to relay her experiences from the ‘other side’ so as to help Ellen understand that death, far from being the end, was an event to be worked toward and that although her body had died ‘she’ hadn’t really died at all. Explaining the process of her death Julia wrote; “I did not feel any pain in “dying;” I felt only a great calm and peace. Then I awoke, and I was standing outside my old body, in the room. There was no one there at first, just myself and just myself. At first I wondered I was so strangely well. Then I saw that I had passed over. She added in another communication, “There is no death… Death is only a sense of deprivation and separation which the so-called living feel – an incident of limitation of ‘life.’ Death only exists for the ‘living,’ not for us.”

The letters were dictated during a period between 1892 and 1893 and during this time Julia asked Stead to set up a ‘Bureau’ — a sort of facility where, with the use of mediums, spiritual communications between the living and the spirit world could take place. Julia expressed great importance in our knowing more about our true reality stating; “you may think it strange that the verification of another life should increase the importance of this. But such is the fact, and you can never understand the importance of your life until you see it from this side. You are never, for one moment, idle from influencing eternity. You may think this a figure of speech.
But it is not. You are, far more really than you imagine, making this world of ours in that world of yours.”

The content of the letters included the law of spiritual growth, the mourning of the ‘dead’, life on the other side, and numerous other subjects she felt those living in the physical should be aware of before passing over.

In1893 Stead launched a publication called Borderland, a quarterly psychic magazine that ran until 1897, in which the “Letters from Julia” were published for the first time. The book containing the letters entitled After Death was published in 1905 and was great success with many copies being sold in the UK and the USA.

 

 

 

 

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“Living with Grief: 36 Lessons from Life”

An anthology of 36 contributing authors experiencing personal loss through the death of a loved one…or the death of an essential part of themselves…tell their stories.

These stories are deep, rich and intimate, and they reveal the extreme pain and confusion, the shock and emptiness of living with death.

The message of hope that this anthology conveys lies in the fact that all contributors, in sharing their experience, also explain how they each found their own unique way to live with their heart-breaking pain, even though they might have at first felt absolutely lost, and decided to share their personal story with the reader or with whoever might draw inspiration and drive from their experience, in order to find in life a bigger picture and new reasons to carry on.

The editor, David Pierce, who with his wife Judy founded the social movement Friends Along the Road, has been working in the field of bereavement support ever since 1999, through the administration of dedicated message boards and Facebook groups and all sorts of activities and events designed to offer sanctuary and caring support to those in grief, a physical or virtual space where to rest and seek comfort along one’s path.

friends-jpg250This has been David and Judy Pierce’s mission ever since their lives were shattered and changed forever following the sudden loss of their precious fourteen-year-old daughter Lilli, due to an accident as she was crossing the road on her way back home in the late afternoon of a tragic Friday, on 12 November, 1999.

The second edition of this anthology will soon be available.

The Afterlife: Hereafter and Here at Hand

Only $ 0.99 – Use the Smashwords coupon to buy ‘The Afterlife: Hereafter and Here at Hand’ at a very special price – http://fracieloeterra.org/coupon

 

 

I launched this book in Italian in March 2014. An updated version was issued in 2016. The English version will be made available on 5 June 2017.

This will not be a plain translation of the book I published three years ago, as it will include additional thoughts on the topic and has in fact been re-written for English-speaking readers.

But the synopsis has not changed, and this is what the book is about.

THE AFTERLIFE:  Hereafter and Here at Hand

Three tried and tested methods to stay in touch with those who have gone before us

Is mediumship a rare talent or does each of us have the potential to stay in touch with loved ones who have crossed over before us? According to the author, who has attended several courses held by professional mediums and is an expert astral traveller herself, we all have the potential to maintain links that might appear to be broken as a result of the death of our physical body. This book contains plenty of evidence to support the idea that, irrespective of death, we are always in touch, even though we might not realise.

A clear difference exists between trained professional mediums and what this book is about, and this is something the author makes absolutely clear from the beginning, having had the honour of working closely with a number of them as a translator and of finding out how many studies and how much effort and daily dedication a professional medium needs to devote to his/her work.

Before presenting methods for pursuing the goal of staying in touch with our loved ones on the so-called “other side”, this book looks closely at the themes of transition, death and life after death, drawing on evidence provided by mediumistic accounts and the fascinating discoveries made by those who have glimpsed beyond the threshold during Near-Death Experiences.

Thanks to her personal meetings with deceased family members and friends, through dreams, lucid dreams, astral travel, as well as other mystical experiences, the author offers her own conclusions on the Spirit World. She suggests that the spiritual plane constantly interacts with the physical, and is, in fact, both emanation and essence of it, despite our unfortunate tendency in everyday life to consider the two dimensions as separate compartments.

Based on this, we discover that our loved ones find it much easier to stay in touch with those they have been close to on this physical plane, are closer to us than ever and only too willing to reassure us, watch over us and guide us.

Aside from the techniques themselves, which are within everyone’s grasp, the book is a great source of comfort, not only for those who have suffered a loss but also for anyone who, as a human being, has questions or doubts about this subject, which regrettably, many still consider a great taboo.

Amazon author’s page

Available as from 5 June 2017