The Void and the Near-Death Experience

By Kevin Williams


This may be the one of most important articles you will read on this website. Knowing the nature of the earthbound realm and the void will give you a good understanding of these first two afterlife realms beyond Earth which are commonly known as "hell". The purpose of the void and how to escape it will be also be discussed. This article concludes with a discussion of the spiritual struggle between light and darkness and what it means to the future of humanity.


Many near-death accounts involve a description of traveling through a realm commonly known in NDE circles as - the "void." Together with the earthbound realm, the void is known by many religious traditions as hell, purgatory, or outer darkness to name a few. There are many myths concerning this realm and it is my point to also dispel some of them.


1. Summary of Insights Concerning the Void


After death, some souls travel very quickly through the two lower realms - the earthbound realm and void - by means of the tunnel and on to higher realms. Other souls, particularly those who have developed a strong addiction for some earthly desire that went beyond the physical and into the spiritual, may enter the earthbound realm in a vain attempt to re-enter Earth. Many near-death accounts, as you will see later, involve souls entering the void immediately after death. From here, the soul may then enter the tunnel toward the light in the next heavenly realm. Other souls remain in the void for one reason or another until they are ready to leave it.


The general consensus among near-death reports is that the void is totally devoid of love, light, and everything. It is a realm of complete and profound darkness where nothing exists but the thought patterns of those in it. It is a perfect place for souls to examine their own mind, contemplate their recent Earth experience, and decide where they want to go next.


For some souls, the void is a beautiful and heavenly experience because, in the absence of all else, they are able to perfectly see the love and light they have cultivated within themselves. For other souls, the void is a terrifying and horrible hell because, in the absence of everything, they are able to perfectly see within themselves the lack of love and light they have cultivated within themselves. For this reason, the void is more than a place for the reflection of the soul. For some souls, it is a place for purification. In the latter case, the void acts as a kind of time-out where troubled souls remain until they choose a different course of action.


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 way to escape the void is to choose love and light over the darkness. Once this happens, the light appears and the tunnel takes them toward the light and into heaven for further instruction. For those souls who either refuse the light or have spent a lifetime ignoring the light, it may take what seems like eons of "time" before they reach the point that they desire the light of love. The problem for many souls is that they prefer the 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/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 the light.


2. The Nature of the Void


As mentioned earlier, nothing exists in the void except your own thought patterns and the thought patterns of others. In the absence of light, souls tend to group together according to the vibration of their souls. In the void, the darkest of human nature can be found there if you desire to seek it. However, even souls in the darkest of the darkness are not without hope.


Multi-colored icon.   The following is an excellent general explanation of the nature of the void by Arthur Yensen: "Those who are too bad go to a realm of lower vibrations where their kind of thoughts can live. After death, people are drawn into groups according to their rate of soul vibrations. If the amount of discord within a person is small, it can be eliminated by God so that only the good remains and they are welcomed into heaven. However, if the amount of discord is too high, eliminating it cannot be done because they would be annihilated. So, the person will gravitate to a lower realm and live with their own kind. Each person lives in the kind of a heaven or hell that they have prepared for themselves while on Earth. High vibrations indicate love and spiritual development, while low vibrations indicate debasement and evil. Without a physical body, feelings of hate and fear are intensified as souls vainly try to hide from their enemies. (Arthur Yensen)


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


  There is no love there.

•  There is no light there.

•  There are degrees of darkness with edges that are foggy.

•  There are ignorant souls there which many people would consider to be evil.

•  Human souls that committed suicide can be seen in the foggy edges.

•  Non-human creatures can be found there, including creatures not found on Earth.

•  Beings of light are nearby to help tormented souls.

•  Religious references to the void.

•  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.


Multi-colored icon.   "While in 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)


Multi-colored icon.   "In the void, your only source of stimulation will be your own thoughts." (Robert Monroe)


Multi-colored icon.   Carter Mills was shown that hell is a black blankness without God. (Carter Mills)


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:


Multi-colored icon.   "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.


Multi-colored icon.   "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. The Foggy Edges of the Void


Many near-death accounts describe a realm that is shadowy, grayish, and foggy. This is the outer edge of the void. The following are near-death accounts that describe this foggy region.


Multi-colored icon.   Howard Storm was led from a dark, foggy realm by ignorant souls to a realm that would get darker and darker. At some point Storm refused to go any further. They they tore Storm to pieces. (Rev. Howard Storm)


Multi-colored icon.   "People who have deliberately chosen to live debased or cruel lives and have turned their backs on the light of God find themselves in a state similar to groping in a dark and depressing fog. Everyone there is wrapped up in his own cruel thinking. These souls wander around in this lost state until they, of their own volition, make an attempt to turn toward the light of God. Some may be lost for eons of time." (Margaret Tweddell)


Multi-colored icon.   "All around me was a gray, cloud-type, thick fog. It had texture. The closer I approached the light I became aware of a fundamental sense of purity. "(Chris Taylor)


Multi-colored icon.   "I was aware of being surrounded but I didn't know by what or by whom. At first it just seemed like a foggy grayness about me. As the speed of my upward and outward movement increased, the enclosing fog seemed to have a bright ending at the distance." (Grace Bubulka)


6. Ignorant Souls in the Void


Souls become trapped in the void for various reasons. Virtually any earthly desire that becomes so obsessive that it goes beyond the physical and extends into the spiritual, has the ability to prevent people from realizing the divine love and light within them. Any negative thought process cultivated on Earth can be manifested to its fullest extent in the void. The void is the best place for those who entertain such negative desires and thoughts because they are able to fully realize the hellish nature within themselves and perhaps seek something different.


Multi-colored icon.   Jesus led George Ritchie to a dark realm where angry souls were locked into hand to hand combat and trying in vain to hurt each other. George discovered that this was hell. (Dr. George Ritchie)


Multi-colored icon.   Howard Storm was forced by a mob of unfriendly beings toward some unknown destination in the darkness. At some point they started to inflict upon Storm a wild orgy of frenzied hand to hand combat. It was only by crying out to God that Storm is removed from there. (Rev. Howard Storm)


Multi-colored icon.   "This is an example of a murderer who deliberately kills another person for personal gain or satisfaction. Full of hatred or vengeance, he expects to find nothing after death, and for a long time that is what he finds - nothing. Then he discovers that the hell he had every reason to expect is indeed awaiting him. It is not goblins and devils that he sees, but visions of his own face distorted by hatred, greed, malice, and other defeating emotions. He cringes from the sight, realizing that he sees himself this way. He is appalled as he realizes that he wasted a lifetime of opportunity. This soul will stay in torment for a long, long time, until he believes himself to be totally lost. When he eventually reaches this pit of despair, he may at last cry out to God to rescue him and that wail of despair is heard by God. Other souls are sent to ease his suffering, and if his will is truly uplifted toward spiritual development, he will slowly, slowly, slowly begin to work himself upward until he has learned the penalties for taking another's life which was given by God." (Ruth Montgomery)


7. Suicidal Souls in the Void


The fact that suicidal souls are seen in the gray foggy edges of the void, the least painful part of the void, suggests to me that God shows special mercy to them. Not all souls who have committed suicide find themselves stuck in the void as you will see below.


Multi-colored icon.   One of Dr. Kenneth Ring's research subjects attempted suicide and experienced a gray area. It was here that his fear was gone and he felt an adventurous feeling of excitement. He had a feeling of hope that there's something better somewhere else. He heard a woman's voice and was drawn to it but something held him back. Eventually, he returned to his body. His experience in the grayness was decidedly pleasant and very positive and powerful in its emotional impact. (Dr. Kenneth Ring)


Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Kenneth Ring's research concluded that suicidal NDEs tend to be truncated, aborted, and damped down. It begins with a feeling of relief or peace and continues with a sense of bodily detachment to the same degree as non-suicide NDEs. But it tends to end, if it got this far at all, with a feeling of confused drifting in a dark or murky void a sort of twilight zone. (Dr. Kenneth Ring)


8. Creatures Found in the Void


Not only do human souls inhabit the void, but animals and strange creatures inhabit the void as well. The following NDE summaries will show you this.


Multi-colored icon.   Howard Pittman noticed that some of the demons were human in form and looked like ordinary people. Other demons were in mixed shapes and forms. Still more demons were half-human and half-animal forms while others were in horrible and morbid forms. (Rev. Howard Pittman)


Multi-colored icon.   Whenever Edgar Cayce traveled through the tunnel toward the light, he would observe strange creatures inhabiting the various afterlife realms he passed through. In the first realm, there were vague, horrible, grotesque forms such as one would see in a nightmare. On all sides of the tunnel, he would see misshapen forms of  human beings with some part of the body magnified. He would also see people calling out to him for help and trying to get his attention:


Multi-colored icon.   The afterlife level where Cayce sees human beings appear with some body part magnified is also described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead and other religious traditions as being hell. It is a place where a particular desire has been overemphasized while in physical life. (Edgar Cayce)


Multi-colored icon.   "Dalyrada committed suicide and found herself before a fierce looking and angry Angel of Death with huge black wings pinioned behind him and glittering eyes. This being was made out of shadows and was humanoid in form. She learned that this being is frequently confused with, or assumed to be Satan. Dalyrada and this being argued for a long time until she grudgingly returned to her body. (Dalyrada)


Another creature that is unusually similar to the one Dalyrada saw was sent to guide George Lennox on his journey to a hell of fire and brimstone:


Multi-colored icon.   "He resembled a man somewhat, but was much larger than any human being I ever saw. He must have been at least ten feet high. He had great wings on his back. He was black as the coal I had been digging, and in a perfectly nude condition. He had a spear in his hand, the handle of which must have been fully fifteen feet in length. His eyes shone like balls of fire. His voice sounded more like the growls of a lion in a menagerie than anything I can recall." (George Lennox)


Multi-colored icon.   While preparing to undergo one of his otherworldly journeys, Edgar Cayce had lost consciousness and had a dream. Usually, he would travel through a tunnel toward the light. But in this instance, he met the Angel of Death. The following is his experience described in his own words: "As I went out, I realized that I had contacted Death, as a personality, as an individual or as a being. Realizing this, I remarked to Death, 'You are not as ordinarily pictured - with a black mask or hood, or as a skeleton, or like Father Time with the sickle. Instead, you are fair, rose-cheeked, robust - and you have a pair of shears or scissors.' In fact, I had to look twice at the feet or limbs, or even at the body to see it take shape. He replied, 'Yes, death is not what many seem to think. It's not the horrible thing which is often pictured. Just a change - just a visit. The shears or scissors are indeed the implements most representative of life and death to man. These indeed unite by dividing - and divide by uniting. The cord does not, as usually thought, extend from the center - but is broken from the head, the forehead.'" (Edgar Cayce)


Multi-colored icon.   A strange creature met Kenneth Hagin at the gates of hell. Hagin didn't look directly at the creature because his gaze was riveted on the gates. The creature took him by the arm to bring him into hell. A voice was heard in a foreign language that caused the whole place to shake. At that point, the creature released Hagin's arm. (Rev. Kenneth Hagin)


Multi-colored icon.   In heaven, the Apostle John saw all kinds of creatures: a dragon, four beasts, a seven-headed beast with ten horns, a lamb, and a creature rising out of the sea. (Revelation 13)


9. 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.


Multi-colored icon.   Mellen-Thomas Benedict descended into hell. As he did, he "descended into each person's customized human misery, ignorance, and darkness of not-knowing." It seemed like a miserable eternity for him. Each of the millions of souls there had a little star of light always available to them. But nobody there seemed to pay attention to it. They were so consumed with their own grief, trauma and misery to see it. (Mellen-Thomas Benedict)


Multi-colored icon.   Angie Fenimore realized that nobody else in dark and cold purgatory could see God talking to her. She learned that it was because they lacked the will to seek God as she did. Then she suddenly realized that many Beings of Light were everywhere all along. As she accepted more of God's light, she became less a part of the dark realm she was in. (Angie Fenimore)


Multi-colored icon.   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)


Multi-colored icon.   Jesus led George Ritchie to hell and realized that there were Beings of Light above each angry soul fighting others there. These Beings were attending, watching over, and ministering to these souls although they were completely unaware of them. (Dr. George Ritchie)


Multi-colored icon.   "People who have led a life of hurting others or have led a misdirected, purely self-centered lifestyle, their spiritual environment after death will reflect this reality. It will place them in an area of the spirit world with like-minded people who have yet to learn the value of unselfishness for the advancement of the soul. These are areas distant from God and are said to be dark, cold and inhospitable. Spiritual guides are ready to enlighten any willing soul here and offer growth them opportunities to lead them into the light." (Nora Spurgin)


Multi-colored icon.   "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)


10. 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, She'ol, pit, abyss, an-nar, and Preta-Loka. The following is a brief description of some of these traditions.


Multi-colored icon.   The ancient Dead Sea sect of Hebrews, known as the Essenes, believed that bad souls were consigned to a dark, stormy abyss, full of punishments that know no end. (Essenes)


Multi-colored icon.   Hinduism holds to an idea of hell realms where exceptionally sinful people are punished. Many of the torments of Hindu hell realms, such as being tortured by demons, resemble the torments of more familiar Western hells. Unlike Western hells, however, Hindu hell realms are not final dwelling places. They are more like purgatories in which sinful souls experience suffering for a limited term. After the term is over, even the most evil person is turned out of hell to once again participate in the cycle of reincarnation. (Hinduism)


Multi-colored icon.   "[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)


Multi-colored icon.   "[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)


Multi-colored icon.   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)


Multi-colored icon.   "People create hell realms out of their own anger." (Buddhism)


Multi-colored icon.   Muslim Sufi masters teach that, after death, people judge themselves thereby bringing about their own heaven or hell. Muslim theologians, particularly those of the Asharite school, believe that if a believer enters hell, God could forgive his sins and remove him, either immediately or after a certain period during which imperfections had been burned away as in a purgatory. (Muslim)


Multi-colored icon.   One line of Jewish thought argues that after death the soul has to be purified before it can go on the rest of its journey. The amount of time needed for purification depends on how the soul dealt with life. One Jewish tradition states that a soul needs a maximum of 11 months for purification, which is why, when a parent dies, the kaddish (memorial prayer) is recited for 11 months. (Judaism)


Multi-colored icon.   According to the Gnostic Christian book called the Pistis Sophia, some souls experience hell as a place of shadows and torture. However, after these souls pass through hell, they return to Earth for further experiences. Only a relatively few extremely evil souls are not permitted to reincarnate. These souls are cast into outer darkness until a time when they are destroyed and dissolved. (Gnosticism)


Multi-colored icon.   "Many people believe that those who don't give verbal assent to Jesus are cast headlong into eternal fire to burn forever. It should be common sense to anyone that a God of infinite love would never treat people this way. As Jesus said, even an evil father knows how to give good things to his children." (Kevin Williams)


The writers of the New Testament referred to the void more than they did heaven. Here are just some of these references:


Multi-colored icon.   "Blackest darkness is reserved for them." (2 Peter 2:6-18)


Multi-colored icon.   "But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:11-12)


Multi-colored icon.   " may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny." (Matthew 5:22-26)


Multi-colored icon.   "It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)


Multi-colored icon.   "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)


11. 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.


Multi-colored icon.   Guenter Wagner's void experience is too long to summarize here. His void experience is one of my personal favorites.


Multi-colored icon.   Other excellent void experiences come from: Mellen-Thomas Benedict Angie Fenimore Rev. Howard Storm Dr. George Ritchie, and RaNelle Wallace.


Multi-colored icon.   Other, less in depth, void experiences come from: Nancy Evans Bush Don Brubaker Rev. Kenneth Hagin Dr. George Rodonaia Tom Sawyer.


12. The Reasons For the Existence of the Void


a.  Self-reflection b.  Decision-making c.  Purification



The following is a detailed discussion of each of these reasons:


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 we come to Earth in the first place.


Multi-colored icon.   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)


Multi-colored icon.   RaNelle Wallace encountered a deceased friend who, in life, fell into a life of drug dealing and hurt a lot of people. He was inhabiting a dark realm because of it and RaNelle was not permitted to hug him. She was told that his progress is limited. To the degree he became spiritually dark, he was consigned to a similar degree of darkness after death. As RaNelle returned to life, she was told repeatedly, "Tell everybody that the key is love." (RaNelle Wallace)


Multi-colored icon.   "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.


Multi-colored icon.   Diego Valencia was in a foggy realm near the Earth. He was then given the decision to return to his body or stay. (Diego Valencia)


Multi-colored icon.   Cecil asked the light, "What is hell?" He is told to turn and look. Cecil saw an old woman in a rocking chair determined to sit and rock and worry about children and grandchildren and everything else. Cecil learned that hell is a lack of wisdom and not moving on, choosing not to go any further, sitting there and doing nothing. Hell is not a place. (Cecil)


Multi-colored icon.   "Hell is a state of being heavy, dull, dismal, gray, and glum - as when you are heavily depressed and self-centered. It is a foggy realm after death where many people walk around just like people might do on Earth in a fog. If there has been much negativity during their life, or a suicide, the soul must spend some time contemplating what has happened. It is a holding place where souls who are confused, who do not want to let go of their earthly attachments, or who choose not to grow, will remain until such time as they allow themselves to be released to flow into the light. Many people need to suffer in order to feel worth. When they finally learn that this is a negative process they are running, they can move on." (Betty Bethards)


Multi-colored icon.   "Some souls, particularly those who have committed suicide, proceed to a purgatory of gray fog where they must make the decision to move into the light. People in purgatory shuffle slowly around in despair in a gray fog with their heads down until they make their decision." (Sylvia Browne)


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 cross of Jesus.


Multi-colored icon.   Howard Storm stated that God allows people to be dragged into darkness with like-minded creatures. This is the right place for them, the right company, at the right time. God allowed Storm to experience this hell because he saw something redeeming inputting him through it. It was a way to purge him. People with a loving nature are not allowed to be pulled into darkness. Because of their love, they are attracted upwards toward the light. (Rev. Howard Storm)


Multi-colored icon.   Angie Fenimore realized that she was in a dark realm called purgatory where souls were completely self-absorbed and too caught up in their own misery to communicate with others. They had the ability to connect, but were incapacitated by the darkness. Jesus taught her that the realm of darkness was literally a spiritual time-out where people grasp the gravity of their offenses and pay the price for them. She learned that progressing out of this dark realm depends on a person's willingness to see the light. She learned that hell is primarily a state of mind. When we die, we are bound by what we think. People begin their citizenship in hell while on Earth. But when we die, our state of mind grows far more obvious because we are gathered together with those who think as we do. This ordering is completely natural and is consistent with how we choose to live while we are in this world. (Angie Fenimore)


Multi-colored icon.   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)


Multi-colored icon.   "The type of near-death experience that Dr. 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)


Multi-colored icon.   "Purgatory is an intermediary state that gives the soul the opportunity to develop further clarity. Hell is a state of being heavy, dull, dismal, gray, and glum-as when you are heavily depressed and self-centered. People who have an orientation of hate, for instance, find themselves unable to appreciate a realm of love and harmony. These people must wait until they gradually appreciate the fact that it is very destructive to hate like that." (Margaret Tweddell)


Multi-colored icon.   "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. This realm is known as purgatory." (Sylvia Browne)


13. How to Escape From the Void


Escaping from the void is very easy for some souls and extremely difficult for others. Various near-death accounts provide a wealth of information on how to escape from the void.


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.


Multi-colored icon.   "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)


Multi-colored icon.   Lynnclaire Dennis' love redeemed her from oblivion. We only have to remember to make love real. (Lynnclaire Dennis)


Multi-colored icon.   "Hell is a condition of being totally devoid of love. We leave this condition when we choose to return to him." (Sandra Rogers)


Multi-colored icon.   "Ignorance of the need to seek spiritual growth may keep some souls in the void for a long period of time." (Nora Spurgin)


Multi-colored icon.   "Those in the dark realm can progress, but their progress is limited. The key is love." (RaNelle Wallace)


Multi-colored icon.   "To protect yourself from the unspiritual souls in the darkness, whether on Earth or in the void, chose to focus on love." (David Oakford)


Multi-colored icon.   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)


Multi-colored icon.   "The heavier the vibration of your soul (the amount of darkness), the nearer you are to hell." (Margaret Tweddell)


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."


Multi-colored icon.   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)


Multi-colored icon.   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)


Multi-colored icon.   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)


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


Multi-colored icon.   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.


Multi-colored icon.   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. (Dr. George Rodonaia)


Multi-colored icon.   "As soon as we are able to confront our fears directly, to face them, they dissipate." (Betty Bethards)


Multi-colored icon.   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.


Multi-colored icon.   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)


Multi-colored icon.   "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. Those who are either unwilling or ignorant about entering the light may have only one choice and that is to return to Earth. 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.


Multi-colored icon.   "For some souls, the only hope out of the void is through reincarnation." (Arthur Yensen)


Multi-colored icon.   Sandra Rogers committed suicide and Jesus gave her two choices: (1)  She could be revived from her NDE and live out the rest of her life, or (2) she could remain on the other side. If she chose to remain on the other side she would have to eventually reincarnate and experience once again everything that led her to commit suicide in the first place. (Sandra Rogers)


14. The Struggle Between the Dark and the Light


One of the most interesting aspects to near-death research is learning about the struggle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. These forces compete to gain supremacy over the Earth realm. Not only does near-death research provide information concerning this spiritual struggle, but there is an abundance of religious sources that describe this struggle. Both sources provide information about the future of the Earth and humanity. Both near-death and religious support of this struggle are remarkably consistent. The following information will provide you with some of the details concerning this struggle and its future outcome.


15. The Struggle Witnessed By Experiencers


Many experiencers witness or participate in struggles between light and dark beings. Souls from the lower hellish realms enter into the world for the purpose of soul growth. Unfortunately, many of these souls end up entertaining the forces of darkness (spiritual ignorance) and result in making the Earth that much more spiritually ignorant. Souls from the higher realms attempt to bring spiritual enlightenment to the world. This balance between light and dark is the nature of the Earth and the universe. It is a constant struggle and one day the light will overcome the darkness on Earth. But because free will is an aspect of divinity which every soul has, spiritual enlightenment cannot be forced. But ultimately, because human beings are an aspect of divinity, the forces of spiritual ignorance can never win. They may win the battle but the war has already been decided. This same spiritual battle that occurs in the spirit realms, also occurs within the hearts of human beings.


The following near-death accounts give more information about this spiritual war:


Multi-colored icon.   The light told Guenter Wagner that there existed very powerful spirit enemies with whom the light had been constantly fighting. The light told Guenter to warn the people on Earth about these spirit enemies. The light also mentioned that these enemies wanted to play a trick on Guenter by using him as a kind of trap, but that he had to defend the Earth and the dark realm. The light said that the Earth would be much easier to defend because these enemies had no power in the world and the light had no power in the dark realm. The light said that this war has been going on for a very long time and the enemy souls have become more and more powerful. He said that if this continued, there would not be any means of preventing them from taking over everything. The light said that if these enemies succeeded in coming to the Earth realm, the war would be lost. Guenter was told that although the light was powerful enough to fight them off, the war would be lost in the long run. The light told Guenter that he needed to go back and tell the world about it. (Guenter Wagner)


Multi-colored icon.   Edgar Cayce learned that the so-called Battle of Armageddon described in the Bible, is actually a battle that is fought in the spirit realms between the souls of light and souls of darkness coming into this world. He explained that the souls from the dark realms wage war with "the spirits of light that come into the Earth for the awakening." This means it is a battle between souls coming into the Earth realm and those leaving it. Both groups, the souls of darkness and the souls of light, are attempting to influence the balance of light and darkness in the world. Cayce learned that at a time in the future, souls from the lower realms will be completely prevented from incarnating to the Earth and only souls from the higher realms of light will be allowed to incarnate. Over a period of time, this will result in forces of light on Earth overcoming the forces of darkness. Complete spiritual enlightenment on Earth will occur. During the time that only souls from the higher realms are permitted to incarnate, Jesus will return and eventually a new era of spiritual awakening and enlightenment will renew humanity and the result and be a thousand years of peace (the "kingdom of heaven" on Earth). (Edgar Cayce)


Multi-colored icon.   "The conflict between the higher and lower self within human beings, or what some call God and the Devil, causes growth until finally the negativity or the destructive elements are completely overcome." (Betty Bethards)


Multi-colored icon.   "A sense of blackness, like a dark damp cloud, came over a woman during a NDE. She was terrified and called out to Jesus. Immediately, she witnessed a battle between a Being of Light and this dark force. Immediately following, the light overtook the darkness." (Dr. Liz Dale)


16. The Struggle Described by Religion


The following are some religious references to this battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness.


Multi-colored icon.   "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)


Multi-colored icon.   The Jewish and Christian doctrines of the dualistic cosmic struggle between the forces of darkness and the forces of light; as well as resurrection and the Final Judgment, originated with the ancient Persian religion called Zoroastrianism (the religion of the three wise men). (Zoroastrianism)


Multi-colored icon.   Before the world began, a war in heaven occurred and the devil and his angels were cast out of heaven to the Earth. (Revelation 12:7)


17. The Light Will Overcome the Darkness


All the religious and NDE evidence suggests that the new era of spiritual enlightenment and peace is close at hand. However, before this happens, the Earth and humanity will also have to undergo a purification period to remove all the sins of modern civilization. According to many NDE and religious sources, this will be a tremendous upheaval of society as well as nature. You can read more about this on the NDE and the Future page. The following near-death accounts are some of the best I have read on this subject.


Multi-colored icon.   Josiane Antonette was given a vision while in heaven. She saw the Earth from space and it was colorless, bare, and obscured behind a gray veil. There was no love or joy there. She saw phantom-like people standing on a stage. Half of the Earth was in darkness. On the other side, a sun attempted to shine but nobody paid attention to it. The darkness grew and eventually covered all of Earth and nobody paid attention. A voice told Josiane that this is the world in the absence of love, light and free will. She was told that it was our choices that created this world. With that, the nightmarish world dissolved and became a place of breathtaking beauty. She learned that everything is interconnected by a transparent net of light. (Josiane Antonette)


Multi-colored icon.   Edgar Cayce revealed over 50 years ago that the spiritual Battle of Armageddon will begin in the year 1999. At this time, souls from the lower realms will not be permitted to incarnate. Cayce mentioned that the Christ soul will incarnate again in the year 1998. Cayce also learned that this spiritual war is not only an outward spiritual battle, but is also an internal spiritual battle within everyone on Earth. The end result will be heaven on Earth. (Edgar Cayce)


Multi-colored icon.   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)


Multi-colored icon.   In the future, the devil will finally be thrown into a bottomless pit for one thousand years. Then a new heaven and a new Earth will come into being. (Revelation 20)


"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of being." - Carl Jung

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