What Happens After Death to People Who Take Their Own Life?

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Suicide and the Halls of Healing

“We receive, day after day, the misfits, the derelicts, the outcasts, the flotsam and jetsam, the millions who come here unprepared, unready, unequipped, and who have to learn all over again. Instead of passing to our world a stream of evolved souls ready to take up the tasks that await them, there come millions who have to be treated and nursed and tended because they are bruised, like little children.” SILVER BIRCH (The American Indian guide of the journalist Maurice Barbanell)

Modern man has a dilemma with death and shrinks from the dark thoughts of approaching old age. Fathers wish to be brothers to their sons and mothers to be sisters to their daughters. There is no dignity in old age and society encourages us to cling to our fading youth. Just as a childish person shrinks away from the unknown in the world and in human existence, so the maturing person shrinks back from the latter part of life. No longer do we look to our senior citizens for wisdom but consider old age as being some form of malady. A materialistic age places little value on the special spirituality that can only come from experience and reflection.

A human life is like the arc of the sun as it crosses the sky. The first quarter, lying to the east, is childhood. As the sun rises to its zenith it becomes brighter, symbolizing the expansion of our consciousness and its expression in the world. However, as it descends, the light of the sun returns into itself before its journey through the underworld. Similarly, the latter part of our life can become a period of introspection as the light of our consciousness returns to within itself. Perhaps we could learn from ancient times when the aged were the custodians of secrets and the seers of visions. The life review can begin at this time…and continue after death.

Contemplation of the afterlife, at any stage in life, will prepare you for crossing the threshold without fear. An awareness of your guardian angel and proof of the reality of the next world from mediumship can reinforce this spiritual readiness. However, there are a great many people who never think about what’s to come, and are spiritually unready to make the transition. (I have already spoken of what can happen if a person clings to the earth plane or is unaware that they are dead.) The life review–described earlier–is just the first stage of your gradual familiarization with your new world. Your emotional and spiritual state at the time of death will decide how long a period of self-assessment you need. If you are spiritually unready, then your spiritual self-improvement may take a great deal of time–indeed the afterlife is not a static place, but full of activity.

The Halls of HealingThe Halls of Healing are bathed in light

Souls of Suicidal Deaths

“Trust me, trust in our love. You will learn and grow through my death. You will know it was my path and destiny to end my life in that moment. It was my life’s lesson. What I’ve now given you is a tiny molecule of the lessons I’ve learned since death. My death is also connected to a greater good. You will see it, in part, unfold in your own life.” –Message from the spirit world from Albert Fleites to Joel Rothschild (Quoted from Signals)

Taking your own life is perhaps the worst instance of being spiritually unprepared for death. Some pretty horrible punishments have been imagined by religions for those who take this road. For example, in the fourteenth century, Dante Alighieri published the famous epic poem called the Divine Comedy and claims to have visited hell and purgatory. In the lower depths is found the forest of people who have taken their own lives. Here, the souls of those warped by the sin of self-murder are transformed into grotesque trees. Because they rejected life on earth, they now stand fixed and withered in hell.

Dante’s description of the fate of people who have taken their own lives is not confirmed by the work of mediums. For example, twenty-one-year-old Rob Willis suffered from clinical depression. On May 12, 1999, he could take no more and killed himself by throwing himself off a multi-story car park.

Since the above consultation and newspaper article, Jean has joined my mediumistic development circle and has had many communications from Rob. Some of this has come from my fledgling mediums and direct from Rob while I am in trance. His communications have given us some direct insight into what happens to people who take their own life.

The most important thing these cases wish to tell us is that they are definitely not punished–at least not in the sense of being turned into trees or thrown into limbo or a pit of hell! The guardian angels quickly draw close to these unprepared souls and a process of healing begins. There is a certain amount of self-punishment, as the person is gradually made to confront what they have done, but this is a matter of guilt and shame rather than retribution. Once they free of the earthly problem and now transcend their despair, they become aware of how much they have thrown away.

Rob has told us that he came to understand that taking his own life was a foolish thing to do. He also appears to understand, however, that for him there are karmic reasons for why it had to be. Nonetheless, he is now working to make up for the wrong he has done. He is helped by his mother, Jean, who is now developing into a first-class medium and is especially concerned with helping other mothers who have lost their children. It has been shown to us that Rob is working very hard, from the other side, to help Jean to maintain the high level of evidential mediumship she has attained.

In traditions such as Tibetan Buddhism, there are specific rituals that are designed to help the soul immediately after death to move through the bardos and to its next incarnation. Similarly, in her own way, Jean helped her son to progress by holding him in her heart and by talking to him. Now Jean has had proof that Rob has not only survived death but is actively helping his mother. Her son has become her spirit guide.

I have come to understand that the most important power in this universe is the power of Love. If a person’s heart is filled with sincere love, it can build a bridge of light to the next world. Love is the eternal force that can shatter even the strength of iron or steel. Nothing can stand in its way, not even death. Mediumship would be impossible without it.

Cosmic Sleep and Healing

“As well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well lived brings happy death.”–Leonardo da Vinci

Rob is one of many who take their own lives but come back to reassure their loved ones that they are safe and well. It is remarkable that he was able to communicate just five weeks after his death. Normally, with such tragic cases, the spirit person needs time to recover from the ordeal. When they enter the spirit, they usually spend some time in a healing sleep.

There are some mediums who say that everyone “sleeps” when they enter the spirit world, and that it is impossible to communicate with the deceased until some time has passed after the funeral. I have not found this to be the case.

There have been instances where the spirit has been able to give a clear evidential message almost immediately upon entering the spirit world. For example, I remember giving a detailed message at a Spiritualist church from someone’s father. He was an amusing man and was joking about the fact that he was dead. His concluding message was, “Tell her that I am lying on a marble slab being shaved as we speak.” The lady in the audience confirmed that the funeral was to be the next day and the mortician was at that moment preparing the body.

But many spirits definitely need to sleep and undergo a healing process when they arrive in the afterlife. A good friend of mine took his life in a terrible way, by covering himself in gasoline and then lighting a match. He went up like a human torch, and died slowly in dreadful agony. He also died alone in hospital, as he had nothing on him to identify him. I found out later that they had even made an announcement nationally on television news, hoping to find someone who knew who he was. My friend took his life because he had a mild form of schizophrenia that ran out of control when he took LSD. For him, fire was a form of cleansing.

God only knows what mental state he was in when he arrived in the afterlife.

Some years later my dead friend spoke to me through a medium. The medium’s face went bright red as he explained that he was feeling colossal heat as the spirit linked with him. My friend was able to give good evidence to prove who he was, and went on to describe what happened to him when he entered the afterlife.

The spirit told me that he went to an area of the afterlife that some have called the “halls of healing” or the “home of rest.” This is a sort of heavenly hospital where souls who have been damaged can be brought back to wholeness. If you had a violent passing, were suffering from shock, or had a lingering illness, you will spend some time here before moving on into the afterlife.

Some of the spirits who speak through mediums tell us that, when the first entered the spirit world, they continued doing what they were doing immediately before they passed over. For example, one told us that he was run over as he crossed the road. His death was immediate and instantaneous. His spirit, however, kept on walking as if nothing had happened at all! For awhile, the reality he was accustomed to around him had been maintained. For him, the afterlife included streets, shops, cars, hot-dog stands, and laundromats.

The spirit communicators who have spoken through my own trance mediumship, and also through many thousands of other mediums before me, have told us that there are many planes in the afterlife and that many of these are inconceivable to anyone living on earth. However, they have also told us that the person survives death in a form not unlike his present mode of being. Your experience of “reality”–particularly in the first phases of your transition to the next world–will be very similar to the one you know now. For example, you will live in a three-dimensional world and time will move forward from past to present. You will experience your surroundings in a way similar to the way you use your five senses now. Communications from the dead also suggest that you will lead a purposeful existence. In fact, there is a feeling of being more “alive” than we are.


Much of what my friend said through the medium conforms to the ideas of Spiritualists and in particular with the writings of Anthony Borgia. His books were communicated to him via mediumship from 1909 onwards from a spirit person called Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, a son of Edward White Benson, former Archbishop of Canterbury. In his book Life in the World Unseen, the spirit communicators describe the halls of healing as being a “stately building set among well-wooded grounds.” Within this building are various areas for different types of recovery. For example, there are special halls for people who have had a violent death, and so on. He also tells how healers wear their spirit robes, whereas new visitors to the afterlife are dressed in clothing similar to their earthly ones.

According to Borgia, as you enter the healing halls you are surrounded by a blue ray of light which gives you a feeling of tranquility and simultaneously energizes your spirit. You may feel the light as a warmth that gently soothes your pains away. Any stress that you have carried forward into the next life is washed from you. You will begin to feel strong and well.

When you are taken into this place, you will fall into a state of absolute rest similar to what we may describe as sleep. During this time there are no unpleasant dreams, or fevers, or delirium. Your soul is at one with “divine providence” and undergoes a process of healing. Many other mediums and healers have described a similar scene. For example, the world-famous spiritual healer Harry Edwards writes of how the “place of healing” has a circle of brown stone seats and the building itself is made of a strange blue stone. The contemporary medium James Van Praagh makes a similar observation saying, “The buildings seemed to be made of jewel-like substances, like mother of pearl and diamond. All the colours shone and blended in perfect harmony. The more I stared at these buildings, the more I realized that the type of tasks being done in each individual structure.”

Borgia describes the residents of the halls of healing as resting upon couches. Other accounts, such as one by occultist Yogi Ramacharaka, (nomdeplume for William Walker Atkinson) compare this slumber of souls to being again in a womb, preparing for another birth. A wistful feeling comes when the soul understands that it has, to get to this stage, fulfilled a part of its destiny. They also experience a sense of satisfaction as they approach this period of recuperation. According to Ramacharaka, the more advanced spiritual person requires a longer period of sleep, just as the higher animals tend to have a longer gestation and period of birth on the material plane. He points out that this is not a place but a “condition” or a “state.” The situation is such that no malign or harmful influence could reach or draw near those in this state of being.

Messages from Home

During your period of recuperation from the traumas of earthly life, you may become aware of thoughts and feelings being projected to you from earth, perhaps of those who mourn for you. It is a help to you when your relations and friends in the earthly plane think of you with love and affection. You will not be harmed by their feelings of grief, as this, too, is an expression of love. But the vibrations that will warm you the most, and help you to adjust to your new state of being, are those that arise from positive thoughts and feelings. People on earth who remember or think about you with love, without weeping and distorted passion, will further your progress.

We can draw lessons from this now. Thoughts of goodwill projected to those you love in the next world will help them. But sorrow and longing for the departed soul delays its entry into the halls of healing. When someone you love dies, send them feelings of joy and encouragement; for dark thoughts only act as obstacles to the joy that awaits them.

Recalling Your Past Lives

The cosmic sleep/Soul Sleep helps to restore the vitality of your subtle body and increases its light. Cosmic sleep is also part of the integration process into the next world. Just as we ‘sleep on it’ in this life when we are making decisions or solving problems on earth, so too do we use this same method in the next life. We will go through some of the life review with our guides and helpers then spend a little time after each session in cosmic sleep. This is part of the spiritual integration. You may need a lot of cosmic sleep, or none at all–it all depends of the level of spiritual development you attained in earthly life.

Eventually, you will be shown beyond the immediate issues of the life you have just left and will see your situation relative to the many lives you have lived on earth before. Many of the things that have happened in this past life will be seen to be a result of karma brought forward from previous lives. For example, you may have many relationship problems in this life because you were a cheat in an earlier life. Similarly, you may have money problems in this life because you were miserly in another life. By examining your life in this context, you will gradually be shown the main lessons you should have learned from this life. An intriguing account of the judgment of the dead, that was witnessed Dr. John Hislop and recorded by Dr. Samuel Sandweiss, was given by an elderly American, Walter Cowan, who died suddenly on Christmas Day in 1971 from a heart attack

Walter Cowan’s body was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was certified dead. During his life, Walter Cowan was a devotee of the Indian holy man called Sathya Sai Baba. His wife prayed to Sai Baba for her husband to be brought back from the dead. Eventually Sai Baba agreed and interrupted the life review:

“Then Baba took me to a very large hall where there were hundreds of people milling around. This was the hall where the records of all my previous lives were kept. Baba and I stood before the Court of Justice. The person in charge knew Baba very well, and he asked for the records of all my lives. He was very kind, and I had the feeling that whatever was decided would be the best for my soul.”

Walter Cowan then explains how the angels brought in many scrolls written in many ancient languages. Sai Baba examines them and makes some comments. The scrolls are the history of Cowan’s past lives:

“When they reached the time of King David, the reading of my lives became more exciting. I could hardly believe how great I apparently was in each life that followed. As the reading of my lives continued, it seemed that what really counted were my motives and character, as I had stood for outstanding peaceful, spiritual, and political activity…

After about two hours, they finished reading the scrolls, and the Lord, Sai Baba, said that I had not completed the work that I was born to do and asked the judge that I be turned over to him to complete my mission of spreading the truth. He requested that my soul be returned to my body under his grace. The judge said, ‘So be it.’

The case was dismissed and I left with Baba to return to my body. I hesitated to leave this wonderful bliss. I looked at my body and thought it would be like stepping into a cesspool to return to it, but I knew that it was best to complete my mission so that I could eventually merge with the Lord, Sai Baba. So I stepped back into my body…that very instant it started all over again–trying to get my breath, being as sick as you could be and still be alive. I opened my eyes and looked at my wife and said, “You sure look beautiful in pink…”

Carl Jung’s Experience of the Life Review

I have occasionally quoted psychologist Carl Jung’s views of the afterlife and the fact that the psyche appears to prepare the dying person for an entry into a new life. Towards the end of his life, Carl Jung had a number of visions of the afterlife that also suggest that part of the life review is concerned with an examination of a person’ past lives. At the beginning of 1944, he was taken into the hospital and experienced “deliriums and visions” as he hovered close to death. He explains encountering a “tremendous dark stone block, like a meteorite. It was about the size of my house, or even bigger. It was floating in space, and I myself was floating in space.”

The immense rock had been carved into a temple, with a black Hindu sitting guard at the entrance. As Jung steps inside this temple, he feels that everything about his earthly life is falling away from him. He has a feeling that, now, he will understand the mystery of his life. But something interrupts him:

“From below, from the direction of Europe, an image floated up. It was my doctor, Dr. H–or rather, his likeness–framed by a golden chain or a golden laurel wreath. I knew at once: ‘Aha, this is my doctor, of course, the one who has been treating me. But now he is coming in his primal form, as a basileus of Kos. In life he was an avatar of this basileus, the temporal embodiment of the primal form, which has existed from the beginning. Now he is appearing in that primal form.’

“Presumably, I too was in my primal form, though this was something I did not observe but simply took for granted. As he stood before me, a mute exchange of thought took place between us. Dr. H. had been delegated by the earth to deliver a message to me, to tell me that there was a protest against my going away. I had no right to leave earth and must return. The moment I heard that, the vision ceased.”

When Jung eventually returned to waking consciousness he was very concerned for the welfare of the Dr. H. He pleaded with his nurses to warn him. “His life is in danger, for heaven’s sake! He has appeared to me in his primal form! When anybody attains this form it means he is going to die, for already he belongs to the ‘greater company’!”

Carl Jung was Dr. H’s last patient. On April 4, 1944, Jung was allowed to sit up on the edge of his bed for the first time since the beginning of his illness. On the same day, Dr. H took to his bed and eventually died of septicaemia.

My own spirit guide, Taratha, has spoken about the primal form, that we reach once we have become fully integrated into the afterlife. As far as I understand, this it is what others have called the “overself” the highest aspect of our consciousness. Taratha has also told my circle that only a fraction of our self incarnates on the earth at any one time. We are like a many-faced diamond of which only one surface is in this world at any one time. The primal self is the core personality that has lived many times before and who is fully aware of the purpose of its existence in past lives, this life, and the lives to come.

It is the real you.

Find Out More:


‘What to Do When You are Dead’ explores what happens after death and describes the world we will find there. It is a powerful book that draws on near death experiences, spiritual traditions as well as the mediums direct experiences.

References and Works Cited

  • Hamilton-Parker, Craig (2010) What To Do When You Are Dead Sterling imprint Barnes & Noble ISBN 978-1-4027-7660-1 (Languages: English, Dutch, Portuguese) BUY THE BOOK HERE

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About Post Author

Craig Hamilton-Parker

Craig is a TV medium, author and mystical teacher. I will approve and respond to comments that are short, well-written and on topic. For personal questions and experiences please post on our forums.
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