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Multiple after-life states - a preliminary summing up

Despite discrepancies and differences in detail, the consensus among the Egyptian, Greek, Chinese, Iranian, and Kabbalistic sources is such that it would be possible to construct a tentative table correlating their various soul principles:

Afterlife plane
Ancient Egyptian
one with the gods
Fravashi/ Daena
Hun/ Shen
Urvan /
Hun/ Shen
Earth-bound/ Hades/"Hell"
P'o/ Kuei

It would seem that we have a number of after-life levels:

  1. the "Earth-bound" (the state of the ghost or spirit in proximity to the old physical existence);
  2. the "Paradise" state (the psychic after-life heaven);
  3. the more elevated "Heaven" or higher spiritual state;
  4. and the "Celestial" or Divine state.

It may be assumed then that soon after physical death the being splits into its component principles, and each of these returns to the state of existence - the realm or plane or consciousness - appropriate to its own being.  It should be noted that words such as "paradise" and "heaven", or indeed "hell" and "purgatory" for that matter, should not be taken literally, but are only convenient labels used to designate these various realms or states of existence.

Yet even this schema is simplistic, for not only are there many levels of afterlife existence (with each of levels able to be further subdivided), but there is also the problem of the interaction between the levels, and the merging of the personality on each level with other entities of that level.

And all this is quite apart from any culture-specific conceptual differences. For although the Ka and Nefesh, or the Ba and Ruah, are similar in certain respects, they are not identical.  Each culture constructs its conception of the after-life principles according to its own unique perspective and understanding.

Moreover, my understanding is that the immortal principle, the Divine Soul, is either equivalent to the Celestial principle or else a different principle again, and that this is the only principle that integrally reincarnates.

Web links Links Web links

DivisionTheory: The Lost Secret of Life After Death as understood by the Gnostic Christians who wrote the lost Christian scriptures unearthed in Egypt in 1945 - by Peter Norvak - explores the Christian tradition from the perspective of the soul-spirit division, integrates the idea of an afterdeath soul-spirit division with findings in life after death phenomena research. The thesis is that we survive death, but as two separate pieces - the conscious mind or Spirit loses its memory and goes on to reincarnate, while the unconscious mind or Soul becomes trapped in a heavenly or hellish afterlife dreamworld of its own unwitting creation.

The distinction of these two principles as conscious and unconscious is simplistic; see Assagioli's Psychosynthesis for a more expansive viewpoint (especially teh so-called "egg diagram"). Apart from this, my own position specifies at least four states, (with the reincarnating principle as perhaps the highest of those), I still share the same basic conclusion as that argued by Peter.

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content by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 30 November 1999, last modified 19 September 2005