the Spirit World: Part One
Rev. Simeon Stefanidakis
the years, countless people have asked us: what is the Spirit
world like? Answering this question is both easy and difficult.
It is easy because so much information concerning life in Spirit
has been given to us. It is difficult because much of that information
tends to be confusing or, at least, contradictory.
There is only one way in which we can be given information about
what it is like in the Spirit world. That information has to come
from someone who is there, first hand. And there are two ways
in which someone can go to the Spirit world: either temporarily,
through some type of out of body experience or expansion of consciousness;
or permanently through death. Both have been sources of good,
insightful information on what the Spirit world is all about.
Indeed, most of what we have learned about the Spirit world comes
from those who reside there. Obviously, that information has to
be passed through mediums and channels. The problem lies in the
oftentimes contradictory information given to us. Oddly enough,
much of the contradiction seems to come from within the more traditional
As any student of mediumship knows, the preconceived ideas and
prejudices of the medium can, very often, color or influence the
information which passes through his or her mediumship. It is
the wise medium who understands this fact clearly and, therefore,
endeavors to separate himself or herself, as completely as possible,
from the communication coming from those in Spirit.
Horace Leaf, in his book "What Mediumship Is" (Spiritualist
Press, London; 1976), pages 133-134, describes this quite admirably
are not like gramophone records; they are living beings with
brain and mind governed by lifelong habits. Every person's mind
is full of tendencies, capacities, desires, ideas and habits.
These are so vital that, in the main, they govern the way in
which the individual thinks and behaves.
controlling entities desirous of transmitting philosophical,
religious and spiritual ideas through a medium find themselves
as much under the control of the medium as the medium is under
theirs. The consequence is, if the medium is ignorant and his
mind untrained to serious thinking, the less successful will
the speech be. The reverse is also true. An educated medium
with a well-trained mind will, with few exceptions, produce
So, how do we come to any reasonable and truthful conclusions
concerning life in Spirit? In other words, how do we separate
the wheat from the chaff? Really quite simple: truth ALWAYS passes
the test of time. New age fads and fancies come and go with the
winds of time and people's folly; but truth remains steadfast,
eternal, constant, and is generally free from contradiction. And
here is where we must be discerning in our search for truth.
Much truthful information regarding life in Spirit has, indeed,
come from with the Modern Spiritualist movement, and for this
we should be eternally grateful; but, far more has come to us
from outside Modern Spiritualism's ranks and members.
It is unwise to think that Spiritualism had its birth in 1848,
with the events at Hydesville, New York. 1848 marked the beginning
of a movement, not the beginning of Spiritualism itself. What
happened in 1848 marks the rebirth -- or reincarnation -- of that
which has been with us from the moment we appeared on this great
Earth plane. The events in Hydesville also marked the seedlings
of a movement which would eventually emerge from within the home
circle, that nursery for so much of mediumship's phenomenal
Spiritualism was given birth with the creation of the spirits
(that's you and me); Modern Spiritualism was born in 1848. And
there is a difference between Spiritualism and the Modern Spiritualist
For more information on the founding of the Modern Spiritualist
movement, please see our section on Modern
What many Modern Spiritualists fail to accept is that while their
movement was being fashioned, so, too, were other movements of
the Spirit; most notably Theosophy. Furthermore, an abundance
of information regarding life in Spirit has been given to us through
mediums and channels outside the more traditional Spiritualist
Movement. Alice Bailey, Edgar Cayce, Jane Roberts, Eileen Garrett,
as well as the multitude of investigators from within the Theosophical
movement, are but a few.
What is most intriguing about this is that, once you step outside
the more traditional Spiritualist circles, the contradictions
concerning life in the Spirit world seem to disappear.
What does this mean, and why do we mention this fact before getting
into the meat of the subject of this series of articles? It means
something very important; something which our Church has been
promulgating since its founding, in 1883: mediumship; life after
death; spirit communication; and, yes, even Spiritualism, itself,
belong to no group, no Church, no denomination, and no faith.
These are universal elements of the Spirit, and the Spirit knows
Having said this, let us, now, get to our subject: Life in Spirit.
is the Spirit World?
The Spirit world is right here, where we are. We do not have to
travel in order to get to the Spirit world. It is not separated
from the Earth plane by distance, as we perceive distance. What
separates the Earth plane from the Spirit world is DIMENSION.
It is through the doorway of consciousness and dimension that
the Spirit must pass in order to enter the Spirit world. That
is the doorway through which we shall all pass at some point in
time, when we leave this Earth plane. How we get to that doorway
varies with people, conditions, and circumstances. What we experience,
once we pass through that doorway varies, to some degree, with
those circumstances. But it is the same doorway for all of us.
Kings, paupers, prophets, messiahs, tyrants, saints, rich, poor,
and everyone in between all pass through the same doorway of life.
The Spirit world exists in a higher rate of vibration than does
our three-dimensional Earth plane. From time to time, people experience
a heightened or extended sense of perception, and they catch glimpses
of this amazing world. Mediums have trained themselves to do this,
somewhat at will. An out of body experience, or OBE, happens when
the spirit or consciousness separates itself from the confines
of the body and brain; thus becoming free to experience other
Every night, while most of us sleep, our spirits separate from
the earthly confines and visit the Spirit world. We often experience
that visitation through dreams. Sometimes, those dreams are colored
by our fears, cares, and concerns; sometimes not. Many are the
people who claim they have visited departed loved ones in their
dreams. The skeptic will say that such experiences result from
wishful thinking, manifested in those dreams. But, most people
know better: these precious experiences are far more than wishful
So, you see, the first thing we have to understand about the Spirit
world is that we do not have to die in order for us to visit this
grand place. Furthermore, we can be in touch with our departed
loved ones, even while on earth.
Do We Do in the Spirit World?
This is a question which many people ask. It stems from the fact
that we are so ingrained to perceiving life only through the physical
form that we simply cannot imagine what one can do without a physical
body. For so many, no body and no earth translate into NO LIFE.
In Spirit, we do not go to jobs, we do not have to earn money,
we do not have to worry about mortgages and food on the table;
these are all aspects of earthly life. So, what's left? Very simple:
LIFE. We engage in life and living.
What motivates us on the Earth plane will, very likely, motivate
us in Spirit. Death accomplishes one thing: it allows us to shed
the earthly body and move through the doorway. We do not change
dramatically, nor do we become all-knowing and perfect. We are
the same person on that side of the threshold as we are on this
side of the threshold. For many, this is disappointing. It would
be nice to think that death suddenly removes all problems, all
obstacles, all sin and evil, and all ignorance. That is not the
arrangement we made with our Creator.
We learn, very often through struggle, and we grow through hard
work. Nothing of the Spirit is handed to us on a silver platter.
That would be cheap and not beneficial to us at all. Thus it is
in the Spirit world.
In Spirit, we seek to communicate with our earthly loved ones.
We meet our already departed loved ones, and there is a grand
reunion of sorts. Spirit tells us that it is so wondrously amazing
when we meet those loving family members, waiting at the threshold
to welcome us into the new life. People who suffer long term illness,
as they come closer to the time of death, often see their loved
ones, in Spirit, waiting for them at the gate. This gives them
joy, comfort, and a sense of knowing that everything will be OK.
Our loves, our hopes, our aspirations, our dreams are all part
of us, and we are given every opportunity to follow those dreams
in Spirit. Thus, the Spirit world is a world of tremendous opportunity
and fulfillment, even more so than the Earth plane.
In Spirit, we devote much time to assessing the recent earth life.
We look at the successes and the failures, and we do so with unclouded
vision. There are special Spirit helpers who guide and assist
us in this. For some, this can be very painful, as they face themselves
and their earthly deeds. But, even for these unfortunate souls,
there is always love and guidance given, as they wend their way
through the consequences of what may have been a very evil life.
There are halls of learning and great schools of the Spirit, where
we are given the opportunity to learn and become wise in our knowledge.
Many of these great schools of learning have counterparts on the
Earth plane. The Mystery Schools of the past are an example of
There is the opportunity to pray and offer healing from Spirit,
just as we can do here on earth.
In all of this, we await the arrival of our earthly loved ones,
as our previously departed loved ones awaited our own arrival.
As time passes on, we integrate more and more of our recent earth
life and its experiences into the essence of the Spirit. More
and more of our family and loved ones join us. And eventually,
we move further along the Spirit world, into areas which are more
separated, in terms of vibration, from the Earth plane. We can
always draw back, closer to the earthly condition, in order to
communicate with earthly loved ones or family members. So, we
are never separated from our beloved, no matter where they or
we may be. Please keep this in mind.
The whole of the Spirit world is comprised of various levels of
consciousness and states of vibration. As we move along in the
Spirit world, we pass through these various stages. There are
even varying levels of vibration within each of the afterlife
stages. In fact, we experience a sort of death, as we proceed
from one level of Spirit into another. We shall not discuss this,
as it goes beyond the scope of this series of articles.
The area of the Spirit world to which we all go, once we pass
from the Earth plane, is known as the Astral world, or the Astral
plane. It is here where we spend a good amount of our time assessing
the most recent earthly life, while awaiting the arrival of our
earthly loved ones. It is here, also, where much of the more difficult
aspects of the recent earth life are confronted and healed, to
the degree that we are willing to confront them and to the degree
that they can be healed, according to our overall stage of spiritual
Freedom of choice is inherent to all Spirit. We are healed and
we experience transformation only to the degree that we are willing
to confront and change that which must be changed. There are countless
Spirit emissaries and helpers, always anxious to guide and inspire
us along the pathway of spiritual healing and transformation,
but change can only come about through our own desire to change
and our own willingness to work through that which needs to be
Therefore, better we should endeavor to make those changes now,
while on the Earth plane, than when we arrive in Spirit. Why?
Because, in Spirit, there is so much to learn and to experience;
there is so much wonder to behold and incorporate into our selves.
There is so much pure love and beneficence to share in. All this,
and so much more, is available to us; BUT, only to the degree
that we can experience and receive it all. So, let us be healed
and develop those loving qualities, now, here on Earth, that we
might be free to experience all this wonder, once we pass into
the Spirit world.
It is the Astral plane which is most closely linked to the Earth
plane. In fact, within the Astral plane there exists an exact
replica of the Earth plane, with houses, cities, mountains, people,
etc. It is not really a replica; rather, within the Astral plane
is the astral counterpart of our Earth plane. Everything on this
earth, ourselves included, has an astral counterpart. Remember,
we are Spirit in body. Our true home and our roots are in Spirit,
not on the earth. We "visit" the earth, from time to time, in
order to experience it and its lessons. Therefore, even while
on the Earth plane, we are Spirit, with our connection to the
Spirit world. This astral counterpart represents the link, so
to speak, between us and the Spirit world.
Everything which happens on the earth -- individually and collectively
-- has an impact within the Astral plane. So, the Astral plane
is inhabited by two types of spirits: those who have passed from
the Earth plane and are, still, within the Astral plane; and us
-- or our astral counterparts. In fact, without going into complicated
discussions, suffice it to say that we live within and experience
multiple levels of life and consciousness, even while on the Earth
plane. It so happens that, right now, our focus of attention and
concentration is on the Earth plane. But, that does not deny the
fact that we are rooted in the Spirit.
If we were not living on multiple levels of Spirit, simultaneously,
then we could not experience such things as mediumship, extended
sensory perception, out of body experiences, or, even, dreams.
It is because we are living life AS SPIRIT ON EARTH that we are
able to shift from one level of awareness to another, back and
forth; sometimes spontaneously, other times quite intentionally.
Thus, there is a strong link and connection between the Earth
plane and the Astral plane. It is through the Astral plane that
so much of the spiritual help and assistance is given to us. The
Astral plane represents the doorway between the Earth plane and
the higher levels of the Spirit world.
The Astral plane has been subject to much confusion and misinformation.
It is called the Astral plane because, within it, there is light
and sparkling energy, very much like stars. Astral originates
from the Latin "aster," meaning star. Because the
Astral plane is where we deal with our recent earthly difficulties,
people tend to consider it to be a place of punishment and negativity.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Within the Astral plane, there is offered the greatest opportunity
to set right that which may have gone wrong and to become even
more intimately involved with our family and friends, in a truly
spiritual manner. What is even more amazing is that, once we step
through the Astral plane and enter the next level of the Spirit
world, the degree of love and intimacy magnifies itself a thousand-fold.
Indeed, it is a place of work; but of far greater significance,
the Astral plane is a place of healing, love, and compassion.
Because the Astral plane is so closely linked to the Earth plane
and its inhabitants, many proclaim that it is inhabited by countless
spirits who are lost or earthbound. NONSENSE! The idea of lost
souls and earthbound spirits makes great movies, sells lots of
books, and, unfortunately, gives many unscrupulous psychics and
mediums lots of work; but is not based on fact.
Very few are they who become "stuck" between "here" and "there".
Some certainly do have difficulty in making their earthly transition,
but always there are loved ones and special Spirit friends who
endeavor to help in that transition. And, if for some reason,
a spirit is just not ready or willing to make the transition complete,
he or she will fall into a sleep state and remain quiet, until
the time comes for a reawakening into the Spirit world. Furthermore,
that reawakening is aided through love and healing by those special
Spirit helpers. Such spirits do NOT go around haunting the Earth
plane; nor do they sit around just waiting to possess a weak earthling;
nor do they hang around graveyards or around bars, inhaling smoke
and the smell of alcohol.
Thus it is in the Spirit world; or at least the first phase of
the Spirit world, immediately following physical death.
In Part Two of this series, we shall
look at the concepts of Heaven and Hell, as they apply to the
Spirit world. Are Heaven and Hell, in fact, places; are they merely
states of mind; and who goes or experiences what? Should prove
to be very interesting.