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Llewellyn.com - Monthly e-Magazine - October 2008

The Gate of Life
by Michelle Belanger

Llewellyn.com - Walking the Twilight Path - October 2008

You lie on the operating table and suddenly you feel yourself floating away from your body. You experience a moment of confusion, but there is no fear. In fact, a strange sense of calm washes over you as the weight of the mortal world slips away and you drift up and up and up. Below, you see your body and the people crowding around you. They seem panicked, and you want to assure them that you’re okay, but you feel called elsewhere. The operating room – and your body – grows distant as your perception shifts. You are in an entirely different place. There are shapes, but everything is indistinct, cloaked in shadow. And then you perceive a brilliant white light some distance away. You feel drawn toward this light. Familiar voices are calling your name and your entire being is overcome with a sensation of perfect elation and peace…

Near death experience (NDE) is a phenomenon that has been reported from the teachings of ancient Tibet to the medical journals of the modern West. In near death experience, the body undergoes some crisis or trauma that brings it to the very brink of death. The heart may stop, independent breathing may cease and, in rare cases, brain activity may cease altogether for a brief period. During this time, those experiencing near death feel themselves float out of their body. They may spend some time near their physical shells, observing people and events with a detached curiosity. Many individuals who report such an out of body experience in connection with an NDE are often able to give accurate descriptions of individuals and procedures that they would have had no other way to observe.

Out of body experience can happen independent of NDE. What makes NDEs special – and remarkable – is that the individual’s experience does not stop there. The near death experiencer seems to travel beyond the world of the living to an entirely different realm. Many people believe that this is the realm of spirits or an in-between realm that functions as a kind of way-station for spirits before they move on to another portion of the afterlife. Virtually all who experience near death report seeing a brilliant white light, and this often seems as if it is shining at the end of a tunnel. The experiencer is drawn toward this light. Some attribute an intelligence to this light, while others perceive the presence of a benevolent guide assisting them in their journey. The faces and names attributed to these higher beings will vary according to the individual’s own cultural and religious background. Many others report being greeted by deceased friends and family members, especially parents and spouses who have gone before.

True death may be the next stage of transition once the individual follows the light to its source. However, near death experiences are part of the paranormal canon not because the individual dies, but because they come back to tell of these strange visions. The subtle body or point of consciousness that is projected during this experience reintegrates with the physical body, often having been turned away from the light by a higher force informing the individual that it is not their time. When reintegration occurs, all bodily functions resume as normal and the individual returns to life.

People who undergo a near death experience almost universally come back changed. Nearly all lose their fear of death, and this is reflected in a new appreciation for life. Those who have a near death experience are also more serene in the face of obstacles, seeing difficulties in life no longer as tragedies but as tests or learning experiences. In addition to developing a new and positive attitude toward life and living, many return with previously undemonstrated psychic abilities. They may become empathic or telepathic. They may get visions of the future. Others may return with the ability to heal themselves and others with the power of thought alone. All of these newly awakened sensitivities often lead the experiencer to develop a more spiritual attitude, deepening their convictions in their previous religion or leading them to develop a new, more universally accepting spiritual path. The transformational qualities of a near death experience are somewhat humorously demonstrated by the case of Natasha, a five-year-old black macaque housed at an Israeli zoo. After nearly dying from a severe case of stomach flu in the summer of 2004, Natasha began to walk upright exclusively, mimicking humans. Aside from speculating on possible brain damage, Natasha’s handlers had no good explanation for the monkey’s change in behavior after her brush with death.


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Llewellyn.com - Author Interview - October 2008

An Interview with Michelle Belanger, author of Walking the Twilight Path
by Llewellyn

1. The title of your new book is Walking the Twilight Path. How exactly do you define such a path?Walking the Twilight Path

The twilight path walks in the places between: between life and death, between darkness and light, between the realm of spirits and the world of the flesh. Because it dares to approach the issue of death and personal mortality, the twilight path may initially seem like a dark path. But it is really a path of balance, for in the process of coming to terms with the reality of death, we cannot help but learn to appreciate the precious gift of life. It is a path I recommend for anyone who feels a strong pull toward the world of spirits and for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the relationship between death and life.

2. For most, death is a rather macabre topic. What draws you to this darker subject?

I was born with a life-threatening heart defect that could only be corrected through a series of risky surgeries. During at least one of these operations, I had a near death experience. This had a significant impact on me. First, it changed my views on death and mortality. I was no longer afraid of dying, since I knew through experience that some portion of us survives bodily death. Being free from this fear, I was also more inclined to live life to its fullest. I think this is one of the reasons that I’ve accomplished so much in my thirty-five years. If I get it in my head to do something, like record a music CD, I do it. I do it because I can, and I do it because I might not have the opportunity to do it again, and that opportunity is something precious I know not to waste. It’s not about dwelling morbidly on the fact that everything eventually comes to an end: it’s more about realizing that such an inevitable end demands that we live in the present with as much conviction as possible. How terrible is it, really, to realize that the brevity of life makes every moment precious? I think there’s a profound wisdom in the realization, and I may never have discovered that wisdom if it weren’t for my own brush with death.

3. Death is probably the number one fear for most humans. Why should we not be afraid of this transition?

If we believe that the soul endures beyond the end of the physical body, death loses a lot of its sting. As much as many people fear it, death is still a natural and necessary function. It clears the way for new growth, allowing the world to constantly regenerate and change. We see this lesson all around us in the natural world. Things grow in spring, ripen in summer, and are harvested in the fall. Then, during winter, the land becomes barren. That cold sleep of winter inevitably gives way to spring, but all of the seasons are part of an integral cycle. The cast-off leaves and dead plant matter of one growing season become the fertilizing mulch of the next. When we apply this to humans, there’s no denying that some deaths are tragic, but most of the tragedy exists for those who are left behind. For the dead, death is a transition and a release. It allows them to embark upon a new cycle, refreshed and renewed. Although it can be very intimidating to stand on the threshold of that change, the change itself is liberating.

4. Is there something about this time of year, the time of Samhain and the Pagan New Year, that makes approaching the “threshold of death” easier?

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Llewellyn.com - Llewellyn Journal - October 2008

Candles for Nights of Halloween Magic
by Janina Renée 

Novelty candles make fun and festive decorations for holidays and other occasions, and the most fanciful novelty candles are found at Halloween. As figural candles (such as black cats, red devils, skulls, and the like) are also used in American folk magic, the availability of Halloween candles suggests many possibilities for imaginative spell working. The following are some magical suggestions for Halloween candles.

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A Template for Our Times
by Anodea Judith
We’re all on a journey. A journey to heal ourselves, to figure out what life is all about, to discover the mysteries. It’s a challenging journey with fits and starts, dead-ends, even getting totally lost at times, forgetting where we are and picking ourselves up, asking, “Now where was I before that happened?” Wouldn’t it be nice if someone gave you a guidebook? Or at least a map? Anodea Judith, author of Wheels of Life, illuminates the path of our journey.

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Seasons of Tarot: Autumn
by Barbara Moore
Although all seasons bring about their own types of changes, those of autumn seem the most spectacular and profound to many. Whatever the season, changes are about letting go of the past and facing the future. Tarot expert Barbara Moore shares a couple of tarot spreads designed to help you embrace and understand change during this season of transition.

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Llewellyn.com - Try This! - October 2008

Some Facts (And Fiction) About the Ouija Board

A Samhain Visitation: Connecting with Our Ancestors

Halloween Hocus-Pocus


Llewellyn Journal - October 2008

Candles for Nights of Halloween Magic

A Template for Our Times

Seasons of Tarot: Autumn


Llewellyn.com - New Releases - October 2008

Everyday Witch
Everyday Witch A to Z
by Deborah Blake


High Magic II
High Magic II
by Frater U∴D∴


Soul Visioning
Soul Visioning
by Susan Wisehart




Walking the Twighlight Path
Walking the Twighlight Path
by Michelle Belanger


Llewellyn.com - Reader's Top Picks - October 2008



Llewellyn.com - News - October 2008

Llewellyn's 2008 Samhain YouTube Contest

New Worlds September/October 2008

The September/October issue of New Worlds  is here! Download the PDF file of the latest issue of New Worlds or click here to sign up and have it delivered to your home!


Llewellyn.com - Llewellyn Encyclopedia - October 2008

Equinox
Equal night. That time, or place, in the ecliptic where the days and nights are of equal length, which happens twice yearly when the Sun enters Aries (Vernal equinox) and Libra (Autumnal equinox), from whence these signs derive the term, equinoctial signs.

Akashic Records
A recording of all events that have ever occurred and said to be stored in a spiritual substance, Akasha, that surrounds the earth.

Channeler
A person who allows a spirit to speak through them. This involves the (usually) willing participation of the channeler who temporarily allows a spirit to “possess” their body. A spirit medium may or may not be a channeler. Also known as a “trance medium” (and incorrectly a “transmedium”).


New Worlds of Body, Mind & Spirit

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