This article is as published in the New Dawn Magazine special issue 'Will I Survive: A Look at the Afterlife' Vol 11 No 6.
Much is reported about the afterlife from near-death experiencers. The common theme is one of peace, joy and untold love. Yet, those fleeting glimpses of our soul home don’t give a well-rounded and comprehensive view of our lives after death. And whilst mediums and mystics alike have reported scenes of the afterlife, it wasn’t until a massive body of work, meticulously databased by a clinical psychologist, gave a clear and extensive insight into the afterlife.
That psychologist was the conservative and sceptical Dr Michael Newton. He held a doctorate in Counselling Psychology, was a certified Master Hypnotherapist and member of the American Counselling Association. He never expected his career to take the turn it did.
Dr Newton had a startling revelation whilst working with a client suffering extreme loneliness. He asked her, under hypnosis, what was the source of her sorrow. He was shocked to hear her response – that she had reincarnated in this life time without anyone from her ‘soul group’. She was desperately missing their companionship. This turned out to be a monumental discovery in the research of life after death. Or as Dr Newton phrased it, the life between lives state.
After that breakthrough session, with trial and error, he discovered how to facilitate other clients back to the soul state. During his 40 years as a Life Between Lives (LBL) therapist, Dr Newton databased 7,500 case studies of LBL sessions. For a concept to be included in his model of the afterlife, it had to appear in a minimum of 300 sessions. As his case files grew over decades, clear patterns emerged in the journey of souls from the time they leave a human body to the time they return to the next.
Despite his consistent and methodical research, due to the climate of his conservative world, he wasn’t comfortable to release his work publicly. It wasn’t until 1994 that his first book Journey of Souls was published. That book was a massive revelation – never before had such an insight into the full, rich lives we live after death been documented. Much of the information he had collated was considered too shocking by his publishers and it would be eight years before that work was ultimately released in his second book Destiny of Souls .
During his work, he mapped out the progression of a soul and provided his readers with a structured view of what occurs from the point of death.
Upon death many souls are stunned to discover they are still ‘alive’ witnessing the grief of those around them, and seeing the body they have just left. Generally, the soul feels no sadness, only a desire to reach out to those left behind and reassure them. As souls leave the Earth plane, they are drawn almost magnetically, towards their immortal home. Nearing the gateway to the spirit world, they sense many lights before realising these are actually other souls and report seeing translucent, cloudy white light. Relaxing and soothing musical vibrations, dubbed ‘the energy of the universe’, help to revitalise the soul as it journeys home through planes.
Every client undertaking an LBL session crosses over before moving into the soul state. In one of my client sessions, Simon had just departed his body. As a young soldier running in a field with his gun, hearing planes overhead, he was caught in a surprise attack. Suddenly he felt frozen and realised he had just been killed. Almost instantly he saw a broader perspective and understood the futility of war. After crossing over, still hovering near his body he said, “The whole thing is stupid… it’s sad”. I gently guided him away from his death scene and after a pause he said, “I’m floating, I feel relaxed”. Simon exhaled a long, deep breath as his consciousnesses began to expand, describing the experience. “It’s as if I can feel the roundness of the Earth in me, but I could put my arms around the Earth. I am not in the sky but not in space… I am above a polar position of the Earth. [In awe] I don’t feel a body! I am in a groove that I match perfectly – it’s safe and all-encompassing - there’s a very strong pull”. Simon remained in his peaceful state until he said, “Now I am moving towards a milky white light, almost like smoke. My guide will meet me there”. After a pause, a smile appeared on his face as his guide appeared. “Oh!” Simon exclaimed, “I feel like me again! I feel safe.”
After an early or traumatic death, souls can experience feelings of bewilderment, even anger. They are met by their guides who help them. Guides are the very first entity we see in the spiritual realm, although sometimes deceased loved ones greet us. Souls can appear in human form to newcomers – seemingly to give instant recognition and reassurance to the homecoming soul. There is a period of adjustment as a newly arrived soul becomes reacquainted with their permanent home, slowly the soul acclimatises and reawakens to their immortality.
Familiarity and a sense of peace flood into a soul arriving at the spiritual gateway. They feel relief at letting go of the human body and dense emotions. After the initial welcome, souls are directed into a place of healing and recovery. This serves to cleanse them of their previous incarnation and counsel them about the free will choices they made. A life review occurs in which a process of self-evaluation and reflection takes place. There is no judgment or punishment. In every lifetime, it becomes our test to rise above the negative emotions and conquer the fear in a human experience. That is the growth of a soul.
The final stage on the homeward bound journey comes after this healing phase. A central hub, like the departures terminal at an airport, is the staging place for souls to be sent to their destination.
This is how it was described by Simon, “There are thousands of lights all around. We are all in the same state of lying, waiting on the floor, in the clouds like a big stadium. It’s amazing! There are coloured lights, but they sit in my peripheral, it’s like there is a rainbow around but I’m not in it, it’s just an infinite amount of people – there is a stadium of all different levels. It’s beautiful.”
During LBL sessions the most overwhelming moment for a client is being reunited with their soul family. A sense of comradery, acceptance and belonging is felt, and the returning soul is received like a soldier home from the war. This was experienced by my client, Anna, who was overcome with emotion and unimaginable love when reunited with her soul group. “We’re separate, but together. My heart’s going to explode”. Tears of joy streamed slipped down her cheeks.
Dr Newton discovered there are organised cluster groups of souls. The primary cluster comprises tightly-knit, like-minded souls grouped united for all eternity. They share common objectives, work together, and incarnate repeatedly as close friends and spouses, or even as siblings. It is not common to reincarnate in the parent-child dynamic with members of your primary soul group.
Another of my clients, Solomon, experienced profound love at being reunited with his soul group. Solomon’s excitement was palpable, I could feel it deeply myself. As I gave him some time to reconnect, the smile on his face said it all! “I’m so excited – I have enormous joy!” he exclaimed. He was being received in celebration and was told by those around him that they were ‘amazed’ at how well he is doing. He said he had no sense of separation here. His immediate soul group existed with 6 souls around him and there were outer concentric circles with other souls numbering into the hundreds. Solomon described his group as different flavours of one cake.
This concept of the concentric soul groups is repeated in Dr Newton’s research. He concluded that in addition to the primary cluster group, there are secondary groups of souls arranged as support groups, like lily pads in one pond. The spiritual ponds are seemingly endless. Dr Newton found there is less frequent soul interaction between the primary and secondary cluster groups.
As a therapist during LBL sessions, I ask clients to give me a description of who is in their primary cluster group, using a clock face to map their soul family. As an example, Diagram 1 illustrates the map of Isaiah, the soul name of my client, Melanie.
Diagram 1: Example of primary cluster soul map
Isaiah’s soul group were advanced souls responsible for portals and gateways. Their roles and characteristics are described in Diagram 2:
As noted in Diagram 1, clients regularly report soul family members as emitting light of a certain colour. Dr Newton categorised the level of advancement of a soul, based on the colour they described themselves. He generally referred to them as beginner, intermediate and advanced. However, he classified 6 levels of a soul hierarchy, as shown in Diagram 3.
The next leg of a soul’s journey is the meeting of the council of elders.
Council of Elders
In the spiritual realm, the newly returned soul also meets with a group of master guides, the council of elders. Our guides typically escort us into these meetings and sometimes act as interpreter. Ordinarily there is much fun and joviality between guides and soul members, but meetings with the council of elders are reverent. They are intense, yet compassionate, performance reviews.
The panel is usually headed by one main member, who is the spokesperson. Whilst communication occurs in the spiritual realm by telepathy, these master guides cannot always be read by the souls in the meeting. The council members are typically dressed in robes and wear pendants or symbols, which clients interpret as significant.
During one client session, this soul instructed me that she was ready to go to the master guides of the council. Her guide, Zeelar, requested a meeting which was granted. She stood in the middle with Zeelar behind her, offering reassurance. Once she was in position, the council members came in and she reported this was not the time to be cheeky. We waited while she adjusted her energy system in order to receive communication from the elders. I asked her how she did this and she said it was like changing radio stations to a different frequency. She was facing one elder, with three either side. The role of the spokesperson was to collate information and present it in a way she could understand. She was not able to ‘tune in to’ the others– the middle elder was the liaison.
Far from being a place of judgement, these meetings are opportunities to receive the highest form of guidance and understanding. Dr Newton noted in Destiny of Souls:
The Council is looking to see if the inner immortal character of our soul maintained its integrity in terms of values, ideals and action during incarnation. They want to know if we were submerged by our host body, or did we shine through? Were we led by the convictions of others, demonstrating no personal power, or did we make original contributions? The council is not so concerned about how many times we fell down in our progress through life, but whether we had the courage to pick ourselves up and finish strong.
As described by a client, Frederick, during a session, he felt apprehension as he initially moved towards the ‘higher guides’. He was not responding to my questioning, absorbed in his experience. His apprehension dissolved as he explained, “I’m melting into the flow of my own heart. I truly have no physicality whatsoever”. Frederick was in a euphoric state as he continued to narrate, “They pass on the information in a way that I know and understand. I see behind them to the galaxy, the stars… I am part of everything. I cannot see anything wrong, everything is perfect!”.
For clients undergoing an LBL session, their meeting with the council is undoubtedly a highlight. The awareness gained is profoundly life changing. With renewed, conscious knowledge of our true immortal nature, clients can propel themselves forward to a greater, higher potential in their current lifetime.
With the council meeting completed, souls are ready to full integrate into their lives.
The soul realm is busy. A lot of time is devoted to study and learning, with time spent in ‘classrooms’ and libraries. We have roles in the spiritual realm that can be our strength during incarnations, if they are accessed and awoken. These roles might be as carers and healers, ‘nursery’ workers, animal carers, or specialists working with nature, energy, planets and dimensions. There are teachers, designers, architects, archivists, adventurers, planners, time masters and many more specialities.
Isaiah, the advanced soul referred to earlier, had reported her cluster group’s larger purpose as ‘a bridge between different realms’. During incarnations, she has a natural affinity with the Earth, holding its best interests at heart, as well as the elements that need to be tended to and nurtured. In the spirit realm she has a deep understanding of those elements and uses them to help the constant universal expansion. She repairs any ‘vandalism’ that may impact on the ability of souls to travel through those gateways into different realms.
However, not all souls report such grand roles. One soul, Zara, stated simply that she was a teacher in the spiritual realm, helping younger souls with self-awareness. That flows into her current incarnation as her purpose is to bring greater self-awareness onto the Earth plane.
Eventually, souls must return to the next incarnation.
Life and Body Selection
Souls are often nudged towards their next lifetime by guides reminding us of our development goals. Preparing for incarnation is not easy - leaving the blissful state of an all-loving spiritual home to go into a physical world is not relished! Once souls feel the pull of a new challenge, motivation increases to start the process of reincarnation and a new mission. This involves gathering with guides, specialists and the soul group to help plan out details. We decide what lessons we need to learn, when and where to go, and who will be in our life. We choose the country, parents and select a body.
Isaiah made her choice to have a distant and uncaring mother in this lifetime, otherwise it would have been a hindrance to her mission. She chose a ‘healthy, strong body’ and together with her group and guides, she planned a long, difficult life. But it was important to be here at this time to fulfil her obligations within the context of her group’s objective. I asked what was important about the current timing and she said, “To be a bridge between the different realms that are going to connect, to hold the Earth together while entities that shouldn’t be here leave”.
Solomon, a soul I referred to earlier, explained more about the life selection process:
“What one has become after every life has a vibration. Because the momentum of the universe is towards growth and evolution it seeks to find a vibrational match that will enable it to grow more – we seek both an environment and parents that are a vibrational match. In that sense, there is not always a choice – rather a match.
I must sometimes wait in spirit until a vibrational match presents itself. It is a privilege to have a body at this time. The evolution of the people is happening at the same time as Earth and other star systems, a gigantic evolutionary process is occurring”.
Once planning is complete, it is time again to meet before the council of elders. These meetings are intense and private. Goodbyes are carried out within the soul group. Dr Newton described rebirth as a profound experience, reporting ‘souls getting ready for embarkation to Earth are like battle-hardened veterans girding themselves for combat’.
With another life comes more opportunity to rise above fear, achieve our goals and to remember we are divine beings, existing in duality. Underneath the amnesia, is a deep inner knowing that we have a place of perfection and everlasting love, a place where we belong. Our immortal home.
You would know the hidden realm
Where all souls dwell.
The journey’s way lies
Through death’s misty fell.
Within this timeless passage,
A guiding light does dance,
Lost from conscious memory,
But visible in trance.
~ Michael Newton
 Journey of Souls, Michael Newton PhD, Llewellyn Publications 1994
 Destiny of Souls, Michael Newton PhD, Llewellyn Publications 2002
Kathryn Hand trained as an Australian Clinical Hypnotherapist who now specialises in Past Life Regression, and is a Michael Newton certified Life Between Lives therapist. She has been the Co-organiser of the Australian Afterlife Explorers Conference and Close Encounters Conference and Illuminate Symposium. She now organises the Cosmic Consciousness Conference and continues her practice at Dural in the leafy Hills District of Sydney. Her website is www.kathrynhand.com.au.
For information about the Cosmic Consciousness Conference visit www.cosmicconsciousness.com.au.