Home > Science The Void and the Near-Death Experience

The Void and the Near-Death Experience

Many near-death testimonies involve the experiencer entering a realm commonly known in metaphysical literature as “the Void.” This article discusses the nature of this realm to give the reader a good understanding of its purpose and how to deal with it after death. The general consensus among near-death testimonies is that the Void is a realm of complete and profound darkness – empty of everything except for the thought and emotional patterns of those who enter it. The Void is a perfect place for experiencers to examine themselves, contemplate their recent earth experience, and decide where they want to go next.

Howard Pittman

For some experiencers, the Void is a beautiful and heavenly realm because, in the absence of all else, they are able to perfectly see the love and light within themselves. For other experiencers, the Void is a terrifying, confusing, horrible hell because, in the absence of everything, they are temporarily unable to see the love and light within themselves. For this reason, the Void also acts as a heavenly “Time Out” where the experiencer is forced to look within themselves. There is no judgment in the Void except the possibility of self-condemnation – a harsher form of self-understanding. The Void has also been understood as a process of “ego death” where the “mask” of the personality is dissolved to allow the individuality of the soul to be experienced in relation to the Whole that is God. For these reasons and more, this article may be the most important article you may read on this website.

1. Summary of insights concerning the Void

Some near-death experiencers travel very quickly through the Void by means of the tunnel and on to higher realms. Other experiencers, particularly those who have developed a strong attraction for some earthly desire may instead enter a lower realm called the earthbound realm in a vain attempt to re-enter earth. But many near-death experiencers, as you will see, enter the Void immediately after death. From there, they may then enter the tunnel toward the light in the next heavenly realm. Other experiencers remain in the Void for one reason or another until they are ready to leave it.

For some souls, the time spent in the Void may feel like only a moment. For others, it may seem like eternity. This is because the nature of the Void is for contemplation. Once the soul is ready, the light appears and the tunnel takes them into higher realms. For souls who either refuse the light or have spent a lifetime ignoring the light within themselves, it may take what seems like an “eternity” before they are ready to move on. The problem for some souls is they prefer darkness rather than the light for one reason or another. For some of these souls, their only hope is reincarnation. This is because it is not possible for any soul to be confined in the earthbound and Void realms forever. God is infinitely merciful and would never abandon anyone to their own spiritual agony for too long; however, God allows souls to remain there only as long as it suits their spiritual growth.

The Void is not punishment. It is the perfect place for all souls to see themselves and to purge themselves from all illusions. For those souls who are too self-absorbed in their own misery to see the light, there are a multitude of Beings of Light nearby to help them when they freely chose to seek them. The nature of love and light is such that it cannot be forced upon people who don’t want it. Choosing love and light over darkness is the key to being freed from the Void. The moment the choice is made, the light and tunnel appears and the soul is drawn into higher realms.

2. The nature of the Void

As mentioned earlier, nothing exists in the Void except your own thought and emotional patterns. Within this dark emptiness, ego is stripped away

The following is P.M.H. Atwater‘s explanation of the nature of the Void:

“My dining room below was slowly but surely merging into another kind of space coming down from a source past my ceiling. These two spaces or dimensions of space were merging into each other, but I was not moving. I did not change position in any way. I was where I was, but the world around me was changing and shifting and becoming something else. My dining room faded from sight as this new space became more visible and more real. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. It encompassed me. The new space was both totally bright and totally dark at the same time yet without shape, form, sound, color, mass, or movement. It was aglow but there was no light source. It was dark but there was no darkness. Somehow within this strange environment was the presence of all shapes, all forms, all sound, all color, all mass, and all movement. Everything that ever was, is, or will be was there, yet there was nothing there at all. It was everything and it was nothing, yet within it was a feeling, a pulse, a sensation of energy “winking” off and on — a sparkling potential which “shimmered,” just as Jell-O does before it responds to touch. I called it “The Void” for lack of a better term or idea. It was comfortable enough, so within its crammed nothingness I proceeded with my experiments (At this point, Atwater experiments in the Void by creating images, such as a house, with her mind. She is then visited by deceased relatives and Jesus. Afterward, she finds herself back in the Void). I was now alone in this non-place and there was nothing. For the first time I looked upon myself to see what possible form or shape I might have, and to my surprise and joy I had no shape or form at all. I was naught but a sparkle of pure consciousness, the tiniest, most minuscule spark of light imaginable. And that is all I was. I was content that way, without ego or identity, pure, whole, and uncomplicated. Within that nothingness I had become, I simply existed, ecstatic in perfect bliss and peace, like perfection itself and perfect love. Everywhere around me were sparkles like myself, billions and trillions of them, winking and blinking like on / off lights, pulsating from some unknown source. I would have existed in that state of bliss forever had an irritation not made itself known, like an old sore deep within me; then energy waves burst forth from that deep old sore, and with them came the life of Phyllis, playing itself out from birth to death. (At this point, Atwater experiences a life review) (P.M.H. Atwater)

The rest of this section will focus on important characteristics of the Void such as:

(a) There is no love there.
(b) There is no light there.
(c) Beings of light are nearby to help tormented souls.
(d) Religious references to the Void.
(e) Profound examples of people who experienced the Void.

3. Love does not exist in the Void

The only love that exists in the Void is the love you bring into it. The Void itself has no love or light and because of this, the only way to leave the Void and enter the higher realms is by choosing love. The moment love is desired, the light appears as if summoned. Most near-death accounts describe very brief encounters with the Void, if any at all. It is probably true that most people choose love over darkness, much like most people choose to remain out of prison. God does not force anyone out of the Void. The way to heaven must be earned through cultivating and bearing the fruits of love and light. This is the key to getting out of the Void and into heaven. The following near-death accounts describe the loveless nature of the Void.

While in the second heaven (the Void) Howard Pittman felt an overwhelming oppressive feeling and wondered what was causing it. He was told that it is because there is no love there. (Rev. Howard Pittman)

“In the Void, your only source of stimulation will be your own thoughts.” (Robert Monroe)

An interesting thing that Mellen-Thomas Benedict learned while in the Void was that God was not there. God is here on earth. That’s what it is all about. Humanity‘s constant search for God outside of this world doesn’t need to happen. Everything is here. We are God’s exploration of God through us. People are so busy trying to become God that they ought to realize that we are already God and God is becoming us. That’s what it is really about. (Mellen-Thomas Benedict)

4. Light does not exist in the Void

Light and love is God. Because of this, God’s influence in the Void is limited because darkness rules in the Void. In the same manner, the influence of darkness (spiritual ignorance) on earth is limited because light rules on earth. And light cannot be forced upon people. But once light/love is chosen by the soul, the soul’s stay in the Void is ended. The problem is that many souls have not realized divine love and light within themselves while on earth. This makes it difficult to leave the Void.

The following description of the second stage after death by Emanuel Swedenborg is a remarkable description of the Void:

“Immediately following death, there is a period of self-discovery in which the social masks worn on earth dissolve away and the true self is revealed. Each soul then shapes their own situation to correspond with their real inner nature. The second stage after death is where people learn the inward things that belong to their mind and their true selves. Everyone is directed into this stage after death because it is the actual state of the spirit. If a soul was inwardly involved in goodness while in the physical world, they will behave rationally and wisely at this stage. If a soul was inwardly involved in evil while in the physical world, they will behave senselessly and crazily. Once their outward matters are taken away from them, their madness is unveiled. People who are thinking about divine matters while they are active on earth are in touch with angels of heaven. It is a life of love, a life of behaving honestly and fairly in every task, that leads to a heavenly life. This life is not hard.” (Emanuel Swedenborg)

The following is a description of the Void from the revelations of Edgar Cayce who referred to the Void as outer darkness – a term that can be found in the Bible.

“After death, we may enter a region that is Void of love, life, and light, Void of everything. For some, this region is approximately their wish come true. Here they are truly alone with themselves. For some souls, this is a pain that is unbearable. In the absence of truth, love, gentleness, and kindness, some souls fill the Void with an irrational and unbelievable amount of pain and fear. It is so dark in the realm of outer darkness that the darkness hurts and panic grips them without knowing why. There are various degrees of darkness to this realm, and it is darker and denser at the center than at its outer fringes. The closer we are to the outer edges, the more interaction there is with others in the realm. The closer to the center, the darker and more painful is the solitude. Those who find themselves in outer darkness cannot travel across this dimension. They must grow through the levels of this realm. After death, one may find themselves in a particular degree of darkness that most closely corresponds to the degree of the absence of love in one’s life. Outer darkness is not a punishment. It is a region which operates lawfully for the benefit of those who are there. This region is not a realm which was created for any soul to experience, but one which came about as a consequence of the negative activity of souls in creation. So great has been the desire for self, so monumental across time and space has been the selfishness of some of God’s creatures, that this realm is the creation or manifestation of their own collective activities. Outer darkness and the reality with which it is associated were created and are held in place by collective self-interest. (Edgar Cayce)

5. Beings of light near the Void

Near-death accounts involve the experiencer observing Beings of Light near the Void ready to help, or helping, souls in the Void. Souls in the Void are unaware that Beings of Light are all around them, until they decide they need God’s help.

Asher Elmekiess was in a place where darkness was everywhere. Yet there were sparkles all around like little stars. It was a place of so much love, peace and joy. Asher did not want to move or come back from there. (Asher Elmekiess)

“There are souls called the shining ones who dedicate themselves to going into this dark realm and bringing spiritual light. The souls who are dedicated to this work of rehabilitation are clothed in protective garments so that they are not harmed or pierced by the dagger-like thoughts of hatred which those in the dark realms are throwing out. The shining ones are not allowed to go and talk to these people, but they stand nearby and call to them through thought – prayer, if you like. The moment the souls in this dark area respond in a positive way, the ones who have come to help are able to bring them out into a less dense, foggy world and eventually out into the realm of light.” (Margaret Tweddell)

6. Religious traditions and the Void

The Void is known by many religious traditions by many different names. Some of them are: purgatory, hell, outer darkness, prison, Gehennom, Sheol, pit, abyss, an-nar, and Preta-Loka. The following is a brief description of some of these traditions.

“[During deep meditation] I lost all sense of individualness and only after attempting to regain a sense of myself did I realize that I had lost individual consciousness … It was as if my consciousness turned off a gravitational force that somehow maintained selfness, allowing my mind to slip into an infinite vacuum much like the difference between a contained planetary atmosphere and infinite, airless outer space. I assume this is what the Eastern seekers mean by entering the Void.” (John Van Auken)

“[During deep meditation] I immediately found myself in a beautiful place, right next to the Light and Presence of God, where we are all living traces of His movement, yet still Him in essence. We are ourselves, yet also Him. I could feel it! All unique, but still Him. We all were open both to God and to connecting with each other, and there was nothing else except this! This was prior to inner and outer worlds, prior to space and time, prior to existence itself! This is the place where there are no limits, where peace is not yet disturbed, where surrender is natural, and where our life is wholly our relatedness to each other and to God.” (Stuart Dean)

The Tibetan Buddhist Book of the Dead teaches that once awareness is freed from the body, it creates its own reality as one would experience in a dream. The Clear Light of the Ultimate Reality appears and the deceased must embrace this supreme experience not in a selfish and egoistic way but rather with love and compassion for everyone. The deceased must then realize that his own self is one with this light in order to attain Nirvana. If the deceased responds with fear, it is still not liberated and will descend into the second phase [the Void] where peaceful deities appear. If liberation is not attained at this time, then the peaceful deities turn into wrathful deities. It is important in this realm to recognize the Void-ness of all these beings as a projection of their own mind. (Tibetan Buddhism)

The writers of the New Testament referred to the Void more than they did heaven. Here is just one of these references:

Bible: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21)

7. Profound experiences of the Void

There are many very interesting near-death accounts that involve an extended experience in the Void. From such accounts, much information concerning the Void can be gleaned. The following profound near-death experiences with the Void are the best I have come across.

Guenter Wagner’s Void experience is too long to summarize here. His Void experience is one of my personal favorites.

Other excellent Void experiences come from: • Mellen-Thomas BenedictNancy Evans BushRaNelle Wallace.

Other, less in depth, Void experiences come from: • Don BrubakerRev. Kenneth HaginGeorge RodonaiaThomas SawyerAngie Fenimore

8. The reasons for the existence of the Void

a. Self-reflection

Examining your inner spiritual nature is an important part of soul growth and there is no better place to do this than in the Void. Those who have learned to ignore their inner spiritual nature have the most difficulty in the Void because they have the most to learn. This is why it is important to examine your inner spirituality on earth before you get to the Void. In fact, that is one of the important reasons why we come to earth in the first place.

Lynnclaire Dennis entered a vacuum, a sacred space that was exceedingly real and where her grief disappeared. The love within her saved her from oblivion. (Lynnclaire Dennis)

“All you may know of heaven or hell is within your own self.” (Edgar Cayce)

b. Decision-making

The ultimate purpose of the Void is for us to look perfectly within ourselves. If a person looks deep enough within themselves, they will find the light that can bring them from the darkness. The problem is that many people choose not to do this for one reason or another. The following near-death accounts involve making decisions in the Void.

c. Purification

The suffering that souls experience in the Void serves a purpose for good. Many religious traditions teach that God gives us suffering in order to create character, perseverance, and to cause us to rely more on God and not in our own strength (or weakness). Suffering should never be viewed as a curse from God, but rather a blessing in disguise. It is God’s will for us to suffer in this world and in the Void in order to bring forth goodness. In fact, this is the symbolism behind the crucifixion of Jesus.

Betty Bethards learned that the Void is a realm of total darkness where we must confront the fears we have built within our own minds. As soon as we are able to meet them directly, to face them, they dissipate. It provides the opportunity for people to confront and move beyond the negativity they have created. Souls do not enter the Void unless they need to experience it for their growth. Hell is a level of consciousness which can be experienced in or out of the body. It is a lonely place where one is not allowed to be in communication with anyone other than one’s own negativity. (Betty Bethards)

The type of near-death experience that PMH Atwater categorizes as the initial experience, involves elements such as a loving nothingness, the living dark, a friendly voice, or a brief out-of-body episode. Unpleasant or hell-like experiences involve inner cleansing and self-confrontation. (P.M.H. Atwater)

“Upon death, most souls go through a heavenly process before entering into heaven. Some souls, instead of experiencing the tunnel and bright light upon death, find themselves in an abyss of empty, joyless, nothingness for a brief period of time.” (Sylvia Browne)

9. How to escape from the Void

Escaping from the Void is very easy for some souls and difficult for others. Various near-death accounts provide a wealth of information on how to escape from the Void. Here is a list of them:

a. Love sets you free from the Void.
b. The light sets you free from the Void.
c. Your faith sets you free from the Void.
d. Beings of Light set you free from the Void.
e. Reincarnation sets you free from the Void.

The following information is a more detailed discussion of these ways to escape from the Void:

a. Love sets you free from the Void

The Void is a spiritual dimension that exists within us. During our lives, we may fill this Void with many things such as: love, hatred, happiness, sadness, knowledge, ignorance, family, just to name a few. And when we die, we actually step into this spiritual dimension we have filled. Whatever we fill the Void within us with, at death, we enter into it. Perhaps this is one good reason why the most important aspect of our missions in life have to do with love. Realizing, filling and cultivating divine love within our Void and sharing this love with others during our life will create a heavenly paradise that will be manifested in death. The following near-death insights deal with love and its relationship to the Void.

“After death, many people find themselves in the Void. The way out of the Void is simple. You must think of love. Those who you love might show up to tell you to go back to your body or to think of love. To recognize love as a reality is the key to getting out of the Void.” (Brian Krebs)

Lynnclaire Dennis’ love redeemed her from oblivion. We only have to remember to make love real. (Lynnclaire Dennis)

“Ignorance of the need to seek spiritual growth may keep some souls in the Void for a long period of time.” (Nora Spurgin)

“Those in the dark realm can progress, but their progress is limited. The key is love.” (RaNelle Wallace)

“To protect yourself from the unspiritual souls in the darkness, whether on earth or in the Void, chose to focus on love.” (David Oakford)

Joni Maggi was in a dark outer space and feeling total bliss. It was there she learned that the universe is upheld by love. (Joni Maggi)

b. Light sets you free from the Void

While some people describe leaving the Void through love, others describe leaving the Void through light. They are both describing the same thing and the same God. One near-death experiencer put it so nicely, “God is the light that loves.”

Laurelynn Martin floated up through blackness where there existed no fear, no pain, and no misunderstandings. There was also a sense of well-being. She was enveloped by total bliss in an atmosphere of unconditional love and acceptance. The darkness was warm and soft, a blanket of velvety love, stretching endlessly. The freedom of total peace was intensified beyond any ecstatic feeling she had ever felt on earth. In the distance, a glorious white, golden light beckoned her forward. (Laurelynn Martin)

Ray Meir was in a very dark, vast, peaceful area. It was much like floating through outer space and total darkness. He felt extremely peaceful and very comfortable. Ahead he could see an extremely bright light attracting him. He felt a great love emanating from the light and he moved toward the light much like a child walking to its father. (Ray Meir)

Barbara Springer entered a black space where there existed no light; but she wasn’t frightened at all. The space was totally comfortable. Ahead of her she noticed a bright light. (Barbara Springer)

Darlene Holman approached the blackness. Then see saw a light in the distance with souls around the edge of it. (Darlene Holman)

Hal was in the darkness and could neither see nor feel himself nor anything else. He wondered if the blackness was all there was and if he’d have to make do with his memories and imagination until they ran out. He was absorbed in thought when a faint glimmer of light appeared; but it quickly vanished. He tried to summon the light and another brief burst of light appeared. He wondered if he could attract its attention. The light appeared again and the nearer it came, the brighter it was. In the light, he could dimly see himself. The light grew very bright and he tried to look away. It was so bright that he feared its intensity. He yelled for it to stop and the light replied, “I will not harm you.” (Hal)

c. Faith sets you free from the Void

By reflecting on positive thoughts instead of negative thoughts, and feeling the love and light within yourself, you will be able to progress from the Void. The following information demonstrates how faith can set you free.

George Rodonaia was surrounded by a profound darkness which shocked and horrified him. He wondered why he was in darkness and what he was supposed to do. He realized that because he could still think, this meant he still existed. Then he reasoned that since he existed, he should think only positive thoughts. He wondered how to define what is positive in the darkness. When he thought of light, he was instantly in the light. (George Rodonaia)

“As soon as we are able to confront our fears directly, to face them, they dissipate.” (Betty Bethards)

Mrs. Walters tumbled in the blackness and felt frightened because she didn’t know where she was going. She thought, “I have to get back inside my body.” Immediately, she was back inside her body without knowing how. (Mrs. Walters)

d. Beings of light set you free from the Void

Beings of Light are near and ready to help anyone in the Void out of their predicament. All it takes is but a desire or a cry for help, no matter how large or small the desire. Some experiencers, such as Linda Stewart, didn’t belong in the Void at all and were automatically rescued from the Void. The following is a summary of her rescue from the Void.

Linda Stewart was irresistibly draw toward a vast, endless black Void or black hole. Gradually, she felt herself sinking into it. It appeared that she would simply disappear into the dark nothingness. As her new awareness waned, she yielded to the heaviness overtaking her as darkness filled her mind. Her vision became obscured as she began to merge into the blackness. Offering no resistance, she released her hold on any remaining shred of consciousness and personal identity. As she felt the last of herself disappearing into nothingness, she was suddenly buffeted by a powerful, energetic force that swooped beneath and lifted her, carrying her upward. She was barely conscious. Her only awareness was the sensation of rising. Vast distances seemed to fly by her and the higher she rose, the more her head cleared. She felt peaceful and loved immeasurably. She knew that she was in the arms of a Being who cherished her with perfect love. This Being was Jesus and he carried her from the Void into a new reality. (Linda Stewart)

“Higher beings know what to do to help a soul in the Void advance themselves if they so choose to do so.” (David Oakford)

e. Reincarnation sets you free from the Void

God never abandons anyone to the Void or anywhere. Those who are either unwilling or ignorant about entering the light may have only one choice and that is to return to earth through reincarnation. Again, this is not punishment; it is a way for such souls to return to the earth-school for more lessons and learn how to progress.

“For some souls, the only hope out of the Void is through reincarnation.” (Arthur Yensen)