Book: Everything You Wanted to Know About the Afterlife – But Were Afraid to Ask
Author: Hollister Rand
Critic: Glenville Ashby, PhD
Hollister Rand’s ‘Everything You Wanted to Know About the Afterlife’ is a detailed discourse on age-old questions. Insightful and nuanced, it is a work of therapy, offering consolation to the grieving. As an epistemological study, it is provocative and highly debatable. This is understandable, after all, the author herself states, “After a lifetime of meeting with spirits, I’ve come to understand that the afterlife is far more expansive and exquisite than our brains can grasp.”
On her ambitious undertaking, Rand pens, “This book is intended to be a comfortable and comforting discussion about death and dying – a difficult and, some might say, “taboo” subject. Consider this book to be a conversation with a friend who happens to be a medium, with questions that challenge the fear of the unknown and answers that speak to the heart of loss.”
Rand is celebrated globally. She has “served spirits in love by providing messages via a variety of platforms,” that include “gallery-style presentations [with] an audience of more than five hundred people in a room…and more personal group settings called “spirit circles,” that comprise “no more than ten sitters, providing the opportunity for each person in the group to receive a personal message.”
Interestingly, some quarters have always challenged mediumship as an apostasy.
And there are other detractors: atheists, psychologists and sceptics. After all, the author’s claims may seem outlandish. “Jesus Christ isn’t the only divine being I’ve seen and communicated with. Mother Mary, devas, Egyptian gods, and the goddess Diana are just a few of the others I’ve encountered,” she notes. “There are times when I’m simply awed.”
But the unforgiving resistance to spiritualism has, overtime, lost its zeal. As religion stumbles, many are embracing spiritual beliefs and practices once considered heterodox. Today, many believe that psychic abilities are natural. Rand offers that much, stating, “Psychics, mediums, and channelers aren’t the only ones who use energy centers for “reading” the landscape of life or connecting with spirits. Everyone does! Intuition or gut feeling is not only your personal protection system but a guide on your spiritual journey.”
In many ways, Rand’s eschatological views are not really at odds with religious orthodoxy. There’s a divergence, though. Rand adopts less of a binary view of the human experience. In the dynamics of the afterlife, there is contrition, healing, counsel, guidance, and authentic living. The spirit evolves toward heightened awareness, toward boundless love.
But with echoes of Swedenborgianism, we are cautioned against an overly idealized picture of ‘the great beyond.’
Indeed, lurking is the riff-raff of the afterlife, denizens weighed down by destructive emotions. They are unable to shake free from their own wiles, their own foibles. They are ghosts, the phantasmagorical beings we sometimes encounter. They are ‘pretas’ in Buddhist lore, needy and maleficent, to be avoided or, through prayer and counsel, ‘released’ to the light. Commenting on the tumultuous state in which ghosts find themselves, Rand writes reassuringly, “It is important to note that no ghost has to remain “stuck,” and no one has to continually suffer pain after death, whether emotional or physical. The pathway to love and light is always clear, and helpful mediums and spirits can lead the way. In essence, a ghost can become a spirit.”
In like vein, Rand distinguishes between guides and angels, writing, “Although [both] are spirits, one of the differences is that not all [angels] have experienced life in a physical body like ours. The angels I’ve met do not speak of lives on Earth; some guides, on the other hand, do. And guides for whom Earth was never home, and who may be from different dimensions and universes than ours, in my experience, are aligned with people devoted to channeling wisdom from the highest frequencies of existence.”
Throughout, Rand explains how spirits use symbols to convey their messages. Of equal interest is spirits’ telepathic mode of communication. “Spirits aren’t limited by distance, and they can be present in more than one place at a time. In other words, a spirit can provide information to me in California while standing next to the sitter in Minnesota.”
Rand demystifies the afterlife. In fact, death is a misnomer. Rather, there is continuance, a seamless transition into an accessible sphere; not unlike migration, in our terms. And she explains in some detail what to expect when the inevitable comes.
“As people move closer to death, especially if there’s been a health crisis, they can become aware of loved ones in spirit who have already passed. This serves a twofold purpose: first, loved ones in spirit can help the person dying to be at peace with the process; and second, it is a personal invitation to take the next step in life. In essence, the presence of spirits is much more than a visit – it is a welcoming reunion.”
And of those who commit suicide, she offers reassurance to their loved ones. She writes, “The same thing that happens to anyone who dies: other spirits welcome, love, and help them experience and face their pain and the pain they have caused others. Dying from suicide or dying from cancer doesn’t come with tickets to different places in the afterlife – one way of dying isn’t more spiritually acceptable than another. And no way of dying separates us from love.”
Rand speaks of the grace that is afforded us at the point of death. “[W]e may think that perhaps that person doesn’t want to die and is fighting to stay alive, [but] spirits will often correct our versions of their deaths to let us know that the experience wasn’t how it looked, and that their passing was far easier than we envision.”
Spirits, according to Rand might demonstrate how they passed as a way of identifying themselves and not as a statement on their present condition. She explains, “If a spirit wants to provide evidence that he died of a heart attack, I may feel a sharp and sudden pain in my own heart. A popping sound in my head signals that the spirit died from damage due to a brain aneurysm.” She reminds us, though, that, “Love is not only the constant of communication but the very reason for it.”
Maybe, Rand will be chastened for her Romantic taste for the exotic and mystical, and for her generally Polyannaish view of the afterlife. But undeniable is her ability to offer insightful responses to just about every enquiry on this intriguing subject – Do spirits have to eat? Does romantic love exist in the afterlife? Can spirit intervene on our behalf? Is it true that spirits visit us in dreams? What are the signs that a spirit is present? Can spirits hear our thoughts?
And so much more.
Rand’s message is one of inspiration and hope. Very much Jungian, she explores the infinite terrain of the unconscious self, and the power to discern, interpret and redefine reality. Indeed, it is a roadmap to conscious living at the hour of death, and beyond.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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© Copyright 2020 Hollister Rand
Publicity contact: [email protected]
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