Frederic W. H. Myers (1843-1901), a brilliant scholar and one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research, and author of the book Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death. Myers reportedly communicated to spiritualist mediums all over the world shortly after his death. Myers may have decided that the best way to prove that he still existed after death was to send a series of messages through different mediums. The Myers communications assert that the afterlife is divided into stages, each with its entry phase, a period of development, and a period of preparation for the next higher stage. One receives an impression that it is the aim of the Creator to “take into the firm,” as junior partners, as many as can qualify. There are seven stages, which are levels of consciousness, or realms of existence. The following is a description of these levels and comparisons of Myers’ descriptions of them with known descriptions from more well-known sources, such as Edgar Cayce and the majority opinion of Spiritualists. The section on the Myers correspondences are reprinted by permission from Victor Zammit.
1. Stage One After Death
Stage One is, of course, the Earth realm. As soon as the Earth experience has been thoroughly comprehended – either through reincarnation, or through the exchange of experience with others on other realms – the candidate may proceed to realms beyond the reach of the Earth mind. After death a person enters Stage Two, the Intermediate Realm.
According to Edgar Cayce, the Earth realm, being the third realm from the sun, represents three-dimensional reality. This is the realm of “testing” according to Cayce, or “of the flesh.” He mentioned in his psychic readings that all souls come to Earth to test their spiritual ideals to see if they are real. He stated that only by becoming subject to the physical influences of the flesh and the laws of the Earth realm can a soul know for certain if they really possess that spiritual ideal. This is the purpose of the Earth realm.
2. Stage Two After Death
Upon death, most people go through a heavenly process before entering into heaven. Evil people, instead of experiencing the tunnel and bright light upon death, are sent through what psychic Sylvia Browne calls the “Left Door” and enter into an abyss of empty, joyless, nothingness for a brief period of time. After they have reflected upon their actions, they are reincarnated back to Earth. People who commit suicide are sent to a place Sylvia Browne calls the “Holding Place.” Here they must make a choice to either proceed through the “Left Door” or embrace God and move on to the Light. People in the Holding Place shuffle slowly around in despair in a gray fog with their heads down until they make their decision. According to Sylvia Browne, this is purgatory. It is interesting to note that many near-death experiencers, including George Ritchie, have seen this place.
3. Stage Three After Death
After Stage Two, a person enters a more stable world called the “realm of illusion“, Stage Three. This is a dimension where things may be created with the mind and shaped by the direct action of the imagination. Though a person may linger in this stage for generations, an eventual decision must be made. The individual either returns to Earth or progresses to Stage Four. Before leaving, however, the more enterprising souls may have an opportunity to experience one of the great wonders of this realm of consciousness – a tour through some section of “The Great Memory.” Just as on Earth, one may go to a library and see newsreels of important Earth events of history. So, in Stage Three, one may witness any event that has occurred from the beginning of human experience. Everything that has ever happened has been recorded by the cosmic memory.
Spiritualists call this realm “the second heaven.” Most people who die initially find themselves in the second heaven or intermediate astral realms. Viewed as a sort of resting point on the way from Earth to the more rarified upper dimensions, it is a thought-created universe that closely resembles an idealized Earth. Its inhabitants seem to live in physical bodies, wear clothes and so forth – but of an etheric kind that would be invisible on Earth. Most attempts to communicate from heaven stem from here; but because its inhabitants are as yet unfamiliar with the afterlife, these communications can be confusing or wrong.
This stage corresponds to the invisible plane associated the planet Mercury, according to Cayce. The Mercury realm is the realm of the mind where souls go to develop their mental abilities. Cayce stated:
“Mercury gives the abilities of the entity to consider the problems as a whole with the mental insight into the operative elements of ennobling, of virtues, of good, of beautiful, with the mysteries of the universal forces, given understanding, brings the development to the soul’s forces.”
4. Stage Four After Death
Stage Four, an indescribably lovely existence, is called the “realm of color.” Here one must leave behind all rigid intellectual structures and dogmas, be they scientific, religious, or philosophical. An infinite variety of new sounds, colors and feelings are experienced here and souls find a much wider freedom to function with more highly energized intellect and spirit.
Since Myers had not progressed beyond the fourth realm at the time of his communication, his reports of the higher levels of consciousness beyond this are less detailed and more speculative. He seems to have picked up enough hearsay, however, to outline with some confidence the general nature of the further advance.
If, on the fourth realm, the soul becomes free from the Earth pull, the soul is qualified to experience cosmic ranges beyond Earth’s confines. One of these ranges is the next realm, the “realm of flame.”
The realm of color corresponds to the Spiritualist’s “third heaven.” The third heaven or higher astral realm is also referred to as “The Summerland“, as it is the closest thing to the Christian concept of paradise.
The most inspired and pure souls from Earth pass directly here after death; most people, however, must strive to reach it after a sojourn in the realm below where they assess their life on Earth and try to understand what they did wrong. It is from the third heaven that rebirth back on Earth supposedly occurs – although the decision to go back and try again is allegedly an individual one, and some may opt to forsake material life altogether and move into the higher spiritual realms. Some of the most accurate and most inspirational messages received via mediums are said to originate here. This may also be the place called “Marduk” according to the messages received by some researchers.
The fourth realm corresponds to the afterlife dimension associated with the planet Venus, according to Cayce. Venus is the afterlife realm where love is dominate. Cayce says this of heavenly realm Venus:
“In Venus we find the lovely becoming the expressions in activities in which there is the beauty seen in love, in companionship, in association, in music, in art, in all the things that bespeak of the loveliness even of nature and material things, rather than the expression of same in the earthly form or manner.”
5. Stage Five After Death
In the fifth realm, the “realm of flame,” one acquires a body of flame, enabling him to tour the stellar universe without being harmed by its temperatures and turbulence and to return with a fuller experience of these cosmic reaches.
This realm corresponds to the spiritualist’s “fourth heaven.” In the fourth heaven, which some refer to as the mental and causal realms, most of the trappings of materialism have gone. It is here that selfless individuals work together to bring spiritual enlightenment to the lower slopes of heaven and to Earth. Supposedly all great inventions, religious and moral progressions, spiritual leadership and so on, come from here, inspired by beings who were once on Earth but have had the opportunity to increase their talents in the afterlife.
A few rebirths to Earth do take place from this higher realm. Great teachers are sent back for special reasons. Spirit guides who talk through mediums are often in this realm as well, bringing their enhanced knowledge to Earth.
This realm corresponds to the planetary dimension of Jupiter, as revealed by Edgar Cayce. Cayce calls this realm the “realm of strength.” Cayce stated:
“We find in Jupiter that Universal Consciousness, that longing for the knowledge of something outside of self – the universal desire or the desire to be of help to many irrespective of the cost to self.” Also, “In Jupiter we find abilities in a helpful, universal way and manner. Hence the entity is given to verboseness, as well as abilities to depict situations, to analyze people and places, things and conditions. Thus may the entity be gifted in writing, lecturing, and in group direction.”
6. Stage Six After Death
The sixth realm is called by Myers, the “realm of light.” Individuals on this realm are matured spirits, having lived through, with conscious comprehension, all the aspects of the created universe. They are capable of living now without form, of existing as white light in the pure thought of the Creator. They have joined the immortals, thus fulfilling their final purpose of the evolution of consciousness.
Spiritualists call this realm the “fifth heaven.” Reaching the fifth or celestial heaven is difficult, because it is devoid of a physical state and aspired to by great religious figures, from Jesus to Buddha. Even those in lower heavenly regions view it as most of us still on Earth imagine heaven – a distant, magical, unknown place.
This realm seems to correspond to the afterlife dimension associated with the planet Neptune, described by Cayce to be the “realm of mysticism, mystery, and spiritual insight.”
7. Stage Seven After Death
The seventh stage, in which the soul enters full partnership with God, is beyond Myers’ verbal reach. Myers knew that the levels of consciousness in the upper ranges were beyond the insight of the average Earth dweller except for intuitive flashes. The seventh stage, which Myers called “timelessness,” is inhabited by souls with an advanced spiritual nature that is so close to the ultimate essence of creativity that no adequate vocabulary has yet evolved to describe them, and hence they are difficult to describe to Earth-level beings.
This realm is referred to by spiritualists as the “sixth heaven.” The sixth heaven is cosmic consciousness where the unity of souls is perfected and a kind of universal being exists. This may be close to what we think of as God, but it is even less understood by those on the lower astral realms.
“In the Uranian influence we find the interest in the spiritual things.” Also, “The tendencies from Uranus towards the occult and the mystic forces; as visions, hearing, seeing and knowing without having the physical contact with experiences in the mental body.”
8. The Seventh Heaven
This realm was probably beyond the reach of Myers as well because it wasn’t described in his correspondences. To reach the seventh heaven, one has to step not only beyond material and physical reality but beyond mental and individual reality as well. It is simply not possible to define what this ultimate level may be, but reaching it is supposedly the goal of all individual souls. Everything that we do, on Earth and in heaven, is directed towards that final transformation because there is evolution of the soul just the same as there is evolution of the body, or indeed of all life, back on Earth.
The final realm was referred to by Edgar Cayce as the afterlife dimension associated with the star system of Arcturus. According to Cayce, once the soul becomes free from the influences of our solar system, the soul is free to sojourn to other solar systems. Cayce calls the Arcturus solar system to be “of the Developing.” Also:
“Arcturus is that through which individuals pass and at which period there comes the choice of the individual as to whether it is to return to complete there – that is, in this planetary system, our sun, or the Earth’s sun and its planetary system, or to pass on to others.”
Cayce describes this as both a usual and an unusual step in soul evolution.