Gallery: Ascension steps 2

The Second Death: The Process of Ascension on the Spirit Planes – Part 2/2

(Concluded from Part 1.)

Ivy Northage’s “Chan” describes the more usual form of the second death, where one lies down and surrenders to the process of sloughing the astral body, rather than observing it as Frances does.

“[The second death] is not a separation … but a feeling of complete serenity and peace, with no concern for anything, or awareness of people around you. … You are supported by something that is almost unidentifiable, you have lost your own identity without any concern or anxiety about it. … It is a true spiritual release, and for a little while you don’t really know where you are. … There is no feeling of distress. It is a kind of oblivion, but a conscious oblivion.

“Then you become aware of what I can only describe as a harmonic reverberation around you, a beautiful ecstacy. … You feel this divine, ecstatic, unified power with such indescribable joy that you just don’t know what is happening to you.” (1)

Here’s Rosicrucian Max Heindel describing his second death. The “Desire World” refers to the Astral Plane, the plane where desires are worked out.

“The change is made from the first heaven, which is in the Desire World, to the second heaven. … Then the man passes into a great stillness. For the time being everything seems to fade away. He cannot think. No faculty is alive, yet he knows that he is. He has a feeling of standing in “The Great Forever’; of standing utterly alone, yet unafraid; and his soul is filled with a wonderful peace. … In occult science this is called ‘The Great Silence.’ Then comes the awakening. The spirit is now in its home-world – heaven.” (2)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes and a long-time spiritualist, describes how, with the second death, our Ascension, one leaves behind one’s narrow personal self.

“That Second Death [is] so marvelous and yet so terrible an experience. For in this life we cling with all our might to – Self. … Why not, when it seems desirable to enrich that personality with all the treasure we can gather by labour of hand or brain. … We do not pass naked into the astral, but rather bear with us many an earthly treasure of knowledge, strength and pride of accomplishment.

“And then … crown and climax of all our striving comes utter relinquishment – such is the marvel and miracle of the human soul and spirit.

“To relinquish knowledge, power, accomplishment, all that goes to make our personal self of claims and assertions; to relinquish self-pity, self-centredness, the hope of accomplishment for self; to bare oneself, to become nothing; to restore to the Giver of all … all that one has and is.” (3)

The fullest description of the second death I’ve seen is from A. Farnese. It’s a long passage. Farnese describes how this transition is often accomplished while the soul “sleeps.”

“The meetings for materialization were held once a fortnight, and from the number of them I judged that about three months had passed, when I was told by Ahrinziman to prepare myself for a great change which was about to take place in myself and my surroundings, and which would mean my passing into a higher sphere. …

“I was now told that I had so far freed myself from the earth’s attractions and overcome my desires for earthly things, that I was able to pass into the second sphere.

“The passing from the body of a lower sphere into that of a higher one is often, though not invariably, accomplished during a deep sleep which closely resembles the death-sleep of the spirit in leaving the earthly body. As a spirit grows more elevated, more etherealized, this change is accompanied by a greater degree of consciousness, till at last the passing from one high sphere to another is simply like changing one garb for another a little finer, discarding one spiritual envelope for a more ethereal one. Thus the soul passes onward, growing less and less earthly (or material) in its envelopment, till it passes beyond the limits of our earth spheres into those of the solar systems.

“It happened, then, that upon my return from one of my visits to the earth, I felt overpowered by a strange unusual sense of drowsiness, which was more like paralysis of the brain than sleep.

“I retired to my little room in the Twilight Land, and throwing myself upon my couch, sank at once into a profound dreamless slumber like unto the unconscious sleep of death.

“In this state of unconsciousness I lay for about two weeks of earthly time, and during it my soul passed from the disfigured astral body and came forth like a newborn child, clothed in a brighter, purer spiritual envelope, which my efforts at overcoming the evil in myself had created for it. Only I was not born as an infant but as a full grown man, even as my experience and knowledge had been those of a mature spirit. …

“In a state of perfect unconsciousness my newborn soul was borne by the attendant spirit friends into the second sphere, where I lay sleeping my dreamless sleep till the time came for my awakening.

“The discarded astral envelope I had left was by the power of attendant spirits dissolved into the elements of the earth plane, even as my earthly body left at my first death would decay into the earthly material from which it had been taken,–dust returning unto dust again, while the immortal soul passed on to a higher state.

“Thus did I pass through my second death and awake to the resurrection of my higher self.” (4)

Finally, South African Mike Swain shows his father the difference between his astral and mental bodies. And when he does his attitude shifts and he ceases being Jasper’s son and becomes his “brother.” I would expect that Matthew Ward also showed this same side to his mother, Suzy Ward, at one point in his progression. However, I believe that Matthew resides on a plane far higher than the Mental. Here is Mike revealing his Light Body to Jasper.

“Mike continued to look at his father with an affectionate smile on his face: then, suddenly, Jasper was looking at a mature and wonderfully beautiful soul. In a flash he realized that his son’s life had been the final link in a long, long series of lives and that it had been Jasper’s privilege to have been his father while he was alive.

“’At last you can see me as I really am,’ Mike greeted him. ‘Now you can see me with the dark glasses removed from your eyes. You are doubly my brother for every human traveler is the brother of his fellow.’

“The joy that Jasper experienced flooded throughout the whole of his mind.

“’But for the time being,’ continued Mike pleasantly, ‘I think we’ll all feel more at ease if I retain the outward form of Mike!’

“Jasper could only nod, inarticulate with happiness at the sight of this golden figure.” (5)

“’I see it still makes you self-conscious to see me as I really am. But as I am, so are you!’” (6)

Given that our Ascension is a new process being tried out in the universe for the first time, I’m not aware that we have many accounts of it. However all of us will be looked to by other civilizations to give our accounts of it after we’ve passed through it and served Gaia in the process.


(1) Chan in Ivy Northage, Trance Talks by Chan, 1965, 9-11.

(2) Max Heindel in Paul Beard, Living On. How Consciousness Continues and Evolves After Death. New York: Continuum, 1981, 131.

(3) Arthur Conan Doyle in Paul Beard, LO, 127.

(4) A. Farnese in Franchezzo (A. Farnese), A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands. (1896) downloaded from

(5) Mike Swain to his father, Jasper in Jasper Swain, From My World to Yours: A Young Man’s Account of the Afterlife. New York: Walker, 1977, 72.

(6) Ibid., 73.

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