What is Ascension Like on the Spirit Side of Life?

T.E. Lawrence describes an Ascension

While we don’t have many descriptions of Ascension that I’m aware of that reflect what we will go through in ascending with our physical body from the Third to the Fifth Dimensions, we do have descriptions of Ascension on the spirit side of life.  These may be the closest we can come for now to descriptions of the process so let’s look at a few.

If you read the literature on life after death, there are two kinds of promotion to a higher realm. There is promotion from one subplane of, say, the Astral Plane to another. This involves a slight tweaking of vibration after which a person finds him or herself on a higher subplane – say, moving from the Lower Summerlands to the Higher Summerlands. The transitioning person notices that the flowers are brighter,  the fruit on the trees (yes, they do have fruit trees) get juicier and tastier, and they feel more elevated, but that is about as different as it gets.

Then there is a promotion which sees them abandon one body as we would doff a coat, and find themselves in a different body. So for instance if one leaves the Astral Plane as a whole (the Fourth Dimension) and enters the Mental Plane (Fifth Dimension), one sloughs off the astral body and finds oneself operating in the mental body. This sloughing of a body, rather than the mere raising of vibration, is what Ascension specifically refers to in the spirit realms.

Now with us the higher councils of the universe are trying something new in that they are transforming our bodies from carbon based to crystalline so that we can take them with us when we ascend to an entirely new dimension (the Fifth) and this departs from the practice on, say, the Astral Plane. So this is an innovation that Spirit is trying out with us.

Here is theologian A.D. Mattson discussing ascension from the Astral to the Mental Plane:

“When a person has fulfilled his purpose and development on the astral plane, he may then proceed permanently to enter the mental plane and the higher planes, in succession, to work and develop more fully there. In that case, the astral body is cast off, as is the physical body at death, and its particles disintegrate to be reused in the creative processes. However, a person who has gone into the higher planes in this way can still communicate through to earth and can still manifest himself in the astral plane through materialization.” (1)

The psychologist Frances Banks recorded her gradual Ascension from the Astral to the Mental Plane. Here is her description:

Rev. A.D. Mattson

“I am like a creature hibernating and yet, at the same time, sloughing off a skin which I no longer will be needing. I feel, sometimes, like a snake gradually shedding its skin. These coils of lower density are slipping away from me. I am emerging from regrets of earth memories, from disillusions, from idealizations which become illusions, ephemeral and of no true worth. I am viewing each piece of skin which peels off from me in its right connection with the true Self which it served to obscure. And more and more I become thankful for the Reality which, God be praised, was there beneath the skin, all the time.” (2)

“I realize that what is passing from me, like sloughing a skin, is insubstantial, impermanent, decomposing, as it drops from me into a dusty nothingness. What is left is essentially Light, is Reality, is permanent and is true. I call this my new Body of Light and that, indeed, is what it truly is. A Body of Light, not dense and material and dull and heavy as the physical body, not insubstantial, shadowy and unreal as the astral body in which I have been sheltering, but brilliant, ‘encelled’ with Light, ethereal in that there is no weight, no dragging down into matter but is enmeshed with colour and beauty and form and substance.

“Is that a difficult conception? You must remember that I am forming this, my spiritual Body, or should I be more correct in saying I am merging into it. That sounds a paradox but then much to which I am becoming adjusted here is paradoxical when viewed in the light of the restricted thinking of the human mind. I still have a mind, I still have a body, but both are inevitably changing and because of that I feel as if I am emerging, like a grub from a chrysalis, to a butterfly. Gradually I can function more readily and for deeper periods in my Body of Light, and, in it, can commune with more advanced Souls and imbibe their wisdom.” (3)

“I am trying to function more and more in the Body of Light. I cannot sustain it for long yet, but I have the joy and bliss of the certainty of a further expansion which is available to us all. This is the next step in progression, the stepping out of illusion into the consciousness of the functioning of the Higher Self, an emergence into a wider consciousness and an awareness of Spiritual Beings and of Forces from the All-Creative Mind of God.

“This is a gradual process and may take years (in earth consciousness of time) to fulfill. I feel as though I am starting on a Path of Light which leads upwards and onwards into Realms of unimaginable beauty and wonder and of which I have, as yet, but the faintest glimmer of comprehension. The journey itself is compensation enough for the trials of earth existence and for the emotion of judgment in action of those trials and my individual response to them, from which judgement I am now emerging.” (4)

For Frances the process was gradual, but we have one depiction of a “sudden” Ascension, the case of “Dr. G.,” which T. E. Lawrence or Lawrence of Arabia reports on in his postmortem journal.

Here Dr. G., who is sensing that his time for transitioning is drawing near, tells Lawrence:

“‘The timelessness of our life,’ he said, ‘misleads us into thinking that there is no longer any period to our happiness. We have no lengthening shadow of old age to put a natural limit to our activities and so, when we are happy and easy, we think it can continue indefinitely.

“‘But I know there are natural period in our time here and that I am approaching one of them. I could perhaps disregard the intimations and stay on here [in the Astral Plane], but, if I did so, I should be perverting the pattern. So you see, even this paradise may be enjoyed for too long lest it thwart one’s proper growth. …

“‘I am growing old in this [astral] body and shall soon be done with it. Then I shall go on to explore this wonderful universe on another level [i.e., the Mental Plane].'” (5)

As Dr. G. spoke, “the illumination of his wise spirit made a glory around him and was more convincing than many words.” (6)

Lawrence comments: “I had heard about this second death and transition to the next sphere…. Now it seems that I may be privileged to watch it happening to another.” (7) Notice the use of the term “second death,” which, in other articles, I’ve said is used to describe Ascension on the spirit planes.

In fact Lawrence does watch it. Lawrence describes here the actual “passing” or Ascension of Dr. G. from the Astral Plane to the Mental Plane. It happened like this:

“The end came suddenly. I called on him and was told that he was sleeping. We stood around and watched his still form and the light which waxed and waned there. In a breathtaking second the change came. The light gathered itself together and burnt itself to a keen thought of light so intense and inward that we gasped and turned aside. Then it had gone and only a wraith of our friend remained which shrank away and disappeared as we watched.

“We sat speechless, absorbed in the beauty and meaning of the transition. It was long before anyone broke the silence and then one said: ‘I have heard that some time is needed for a spirit to get used to the new conditions, just as we needed time to adjust when we first came here, so we must not expect our friend to come to us yet. I suggest that when an interval has elapsed we should meet here again and wait and hope for his coming.’ We agreed to do this and went off full of thought to our various occupations.” (8)

Later Dr. G. paid Lawrence and his friends a visit. Lawrence describes it:

“Dr. G. has kept his promise to come to us but he appeared when we were least expecting him. Some few of us were sitting quietly talking when his voice suddenly took up the parable and as we looked up, startled, we saw the outlines of a form which speedily filled in and took substance and there he was among us again.

“He brought with him an exalted air and we felt his presence as a spiritual baptism, a stream of pure joy absorbed hungrily by our thirsty beings. Light and happiness glowed up in us too with the pleasure of heightened being. He stayed only a short while … and left us again.” (9)

So there you have depictions of a gradual and a sudden Ascension from the Fourth Dimension on the spirit side of life to the Fifth. What that can tell us about our own Ascension, which will be physical, I’m not sure of yet, but it may be the closest we can come to a a description of it.


(1) A.D. Mattson in Ruth Mattson Taylor, ed., Witness from Beyond. New Cosmic Concepts on Death and Survival from the Late A.D. Mattson, S.T.D., through the Clairvoyant Margaret Flavell Tweddell. Portland, ME: Foreword Books, 1975, 45.

(2) Frances Banks in Helen Graves, Testimony of Light. London: Churches Fellowship for Psychical & Spiritual Studies, 1975; c1969, 124.

(3) Loc. cit.

(4) Ibid., 125.

(5) T.E. Lawrence through Jane Sherwood, medium, Post-Mortem Journal. Communications from T.E. Lawrence. London: Spearman, 1964, 76.

(6) Loc. cit.

(7) Ibid., 77.

(8) Ibid., 78-9.

(9) Ibid., 83.

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