(1) Transition of the soul and the consciousness from one plane of being to another.
There is no sudden change at the moment of transition called death. As we are at the moment of passing, so we are when we behold the other side. There is no miraculous transformation. We do not suddenly become saints in heaven when we have not been and had no inclination to be before. This reminds us of the passage from the Book of Revelation, “He which is filthy, let him be filthy still;... he that is holy, let him be holy still.”
This is why one’s life-energies should be consciously mastered before physical death. This is why, here and now, men should ask God for the power to change their lives and to overcome their weaknesses.
The separation of the bodies at transition
First of all, it should be borne in mind that the actual cause of death is the cessation of the heartbeat, no matter what other contributing factors may be present, such as disease, old age or accident. The cessation of the heartbeat takes place when the Christ Self withdraws the crystal cord from the four lower bodies. It is through the crystal cord, the lifeline to the Presence, that the energies of God flow to sustain the focus of the threefold flame within the heart of man. The heart ceases to beat when the flame is drawn back into the Christ Self, because it is through the flame that the pulse of God’s own heart regulates and sustains the heartbeat of man.
Since the feeling, mental and memory bodies interpenetrate the physical form and are anchored to it through the chakras, these bodies are also cut off from the Presence and the Christ Self when the crystal cord is withdrawn. But each of the bodies is charged with the energies of God that it has managed to store. Each of the bodies is also colored by the momentums it has generated during the episodes of a lifetime. Because each of the lower bodies is a repository for these energies and momentums (this residual magnetism), they do not immediately dissolve when the crystal cord is withdrawn. Nevertheless, once the cord is withdrawn, it is merely a question of time as to how long they can function independently of the Source.
Each body, then, has its own decay rate. The rate of decay of the etheric and mental bodies is determined by the amount of Light that the soul has drawn forth and held. The greater the Light, the longer the life of the bodies.
The lower bodies may completely separate at death. The soul, which usually remains with the etheric (memory) body, may gravitate with that body to the lower etheric plane of the earth. The mental body may rise no higher than the mental belt, and the astral body may remain in the astral realm, while the physical body is interred in the earth. Or the soul, together with the etheric and mental bodies, may travel to the etheric plane, leaving the astral and the physical bodies behind in their respective realms.
According to the Law of Attraction, the bodies are polarized to the octave where the vibrations correspond to their own. In the case of the astral body, when it separates from the soul but remains in the astral plane, its eventual dissolution is to be expected. When the soul reembodies, another astral body is formed at the same time as the physical body is being formed within the womb; both are fashioned according to the pattern held in the etheric body.
When the consciousness is full of Light because the eye (the attention) has been single (has been focused on the Presence of God), then within three days after the crystal cord has been withdrawn, the soul will rise to the higher realms of God’s consciousness, to the higher etheric plane that is just beneath the level of the octave of Ascended Master perfection.
The higher etheric plane is the retreat of the Christ Self. The blessed Mediator remains in this heaven-world a great deal of the time. While the individual is embodied, the Christ Self may descend to focus through the lower vehicles when these vehicles become so attuned with the Mind of God that they are a fit habitation for the Christ. The Christ Self tarries there just as long as the welcoming vibrations of harmony, purity and devotion are sustained. However, when transition (death) occurs, the Christ Self returns to its haven of Light, seeking to draw the soul to the heights of God-realization.
Whereas during embodiment it is the service of the Christ Self to teach the soul how to outpicture the will of God in the world of form, between embodiments the Christ Self serves to instruct the soul in the integration of her vehicles with the will of God on the etheric plane.
In the case of those who have earned their ascension but are not able to make a public demonstration by raising the physical body, as Jesus did, they may ascend from the etheric plane. In this case, after the ascension, the physical body that has been laid to rest may still be going through the process of dissolution—unless, of course, it has been cremated. When the physical body has been left behind, the energies focused within it become a part of the untransmuted karma of the Ascended Being that he or she must redeem from the ascended state.
Now we are able to understand precisely what a discarnate entity is. It is (1) the astral body that has been separated from the physical, mental and etheric bodies; (2) the mental body, separated from the other three and wandering perhaps in the astral plane, perhaps in the mental or etheric plane; (3) the etheric body moving with the soul (the personality consciousness) in any of the lower planes; or (4) any combination of the astral, mental or etheric bodies functioning with or without the soul as a unit in any of the lower planes.
Unfortunately, the original plan of gathering the sheaves of consciousness at the harvest of life and bringing them into the storehouse (into man’s causal body) has become a ritual so rare that it seems unnatural. People say, “I don’t want to go to heaven because none of my friends will be there.” And so the need for approval from the group affects men’s aspirations even beyond the grave.
Soul progress on the etheric plane
Those who pass from the earthly scene through the change called death (if they are not offered their ascension by the Lords of Karma) must prepare to return to the world arena once again to pick up their ball of karmic yarn with its many loose ends. Each succeeding embodiment granted to the soul by the Lords of Karma as an act of mercy presents another opportunity for the soul to move forward on the path of experience back to the heart of God in fulfillment of the divine plan.
We find on the mental and etheric planes different compartments of consciousness, just as there are in the astral realm. Some of these compartments are schoolrooms where souls who have passed on are prepared to outpicture a higher measure of their divine expression in succeeding embodiments. In the higher etheric levels are the retreats of the Masters, temples of Light where the more advanced are taken for further training.
In these schools, the natural affinities of the soul for the Light are cultivated. Those who have been associated with the various fields of human endeavor such as the arts, the humanities, government and science are given special assistance whereby they might further develop those talents that they have wisely used. They are also trained in areas of latent ability so that they may acquire new talents for future service.
In review classes, the individual has the opportunity to study the akashic records not only of his most recent embodiment but also of previous lives in which he has either erred or excelled in the ways of love. Through what appears to be a moving picture in three dimensions, he is able to examine the events that have shaped his identity and marked his progress on the scale of self-mastery.
The Christ Self and the Angels of Record carefully record on the etheric body the lessons learned from this review. Thus, in time of future testing when the individual has reembodied and the lessons of experience must be taken again, the record of instruction given between embodiments will key in the outer consciousness the necessary and valiant responses that will qualify him to ascend another cycle in the spiral of being.
Unfortunately, not all who pass through the change called death reach the etheric schoolrooms. Many get stuck in the mire of the astral realm, where their energies remain hopelessly entangled with embodied and disembodied souls who carry the lowest common denominator of human vibration.
This is one reason why the satsanga (“fellowship with Truth”) consciousness should govern one’s selection of friends. Intimate associations made in the world of form can well carry over into the next plane. By choosing friends of a spiritual nature, you will help assure yourself of an environment of higher vibration both here and hereafter.
The differing fates of souls after death
The differing fates of souls after death is illustrated very graphically in the following account, in which the Messenger describes her observations during a service that she held following the conclusion of the first Gulf War:
I was offering calls for those who had passed on in the war, not only Americans and the Allies but also the Iraqis and everyone who had participated and all those innocent civilians whose lives had been taken.
It is necessary that we in embodiment make calls for souls who don’t have locomotion and don’t have wind in their sails to navigate or to get anywhere when they pass from the screen of life. We can call to Archangel Michael. We can call to others of the heavenly hosts and ask them to come to those lower planes and cut free those souls so that they can go to a place of rest.
What I found was very interesting. I found that the devout people, men and women in the armed forces, those of every nation who were truly spiritual and had led prayerful lives and devoted lives and had pure hearts, they had already been taken by angels to retreats. Jesus Christ himself has a retreat in the etheric octave over Saudi Arabia. Some of them had such a momentum of Light that they were already there. Others were of the Light but were not able to get there. So I called to the angels to take them. They welcomed the angels. Some of the very devout Moslems were praying next to their bodies. They couldn’t get anywhere past their bodies, but where their dead bodies lay, there they were in prayer on their knees and had been from the moment that they had been killed.
But then I saw a most interesting thing. I saw some soldiers, and they were from every nation, including our own, who had no desire to go into the realms of Light, who were very angry that they were killed. And they were expressing that anger in a rage or in cursing or in foul words. And they were putting out a tremendous amount of anger.
And so, they were not taken to any place of harmony or rest or learning, not only because they were not fit to go there, but because they actually denied the angels who came for them and said that they did not want to go to any place like a retreat of Light where they could learn. So these are souls who remain in what we call the lower astral plane.
An invitation to candidates for the ascension
Serapis Bey writes:
I am announcing to all candidates of the ascension and to all who desire to be candidates for the ascension flame at the close of this or their next embodiment that we have arranged classes at our retreat that may be attended by those aspiring after Purity’s matrix.
To those who have said in their hearts, “I desire above all to be perfect in the sight of God, to have that perfect Mind in me which was also in Christ Jesus,” to those who yearn to merge with the flame of God’s identity and to find themselves made in the Image and Likeness of God, to those in whom this desire burns day and night—to you I say, Come and be tutored in those precepts of the Law that perhaps have escaped you in this life or which perhaps you have overlooked in previous embodiments.
For we are here to fill in the missing links in the chain of Being so that when the hour of your transition comes and you find yourself as the rose on the other side of the wall, you will have the momentum and the inner soul-direction that will carry you to this or one of the other retreats of the Brotherhood either for final preparation for the ascension or for preparation for reembodiment.
Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, The Path to Immortality, pp. 267–68, 312–18.
- 1 Cor. 15:40.
- Rev. 22:11.
- Another alternative, where total separation does not occur, is that the etheric, mental and astral bodies, together with the soul, may travel as a unit to either the astral, mental or etheric plane.
- Matt. 6:22.
- Elizabeth Clare Prophet, May 3, 1991.
- Phil. 2:5.
- Serapis Bey, “Classes at the Ascension Temple at Luxor: To Prepare the Soul to Be the Tabernacle of the Mother Flame,” in Elizabeth Clare Prophet, The Opening of the Temple Doors, p. 52.