Death, Dying and Shifting Paradigms: An Interview with Julia Assante
There may be no greater voice today seeking to eliminate our fear of death than that of Dr. Julia Assante — author of The Last Frontier: Exploring the Afterlife and Transforming Our Fear of Death, an established social historian of the ancient Near East (Ph.D. from Columbia University), and accomplished professional psychic and medium.
Since 1977, she has taught workshops on remote viewing, healing arts and aura reading, after-death communication, remembering the future and reincarnational recall. She believes that the real power of good psychic work is not about accurate information, but its effect– the spontaneous revelation of a greater reality, the most important experience a person can have.
Her interest in religious beliefs and magical practices is fed by decades of working alongside shamans, healers and gurus from non-Western traditions as well as academic research of pre- and parabiblical religions (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome). She is now investigating ways a revolutionary medical device that operates on the level of quantum biology can be adapted to scientifically prove life after death.
On May 28, she will be returning to the Twin Cities to present a lecture on “Redefining Death,” and on May 30-June 1 she will present an introductory lecture followed by a two-day workshop on “Opening the Inner Senses.”
Dr. Assante recently spoke with The Edge about life, death, technology, change and the upcoming talks and workshop she will be presenting at Spirit United Church in Minneapolis.
What actually happens when we die and what really is the difference between what we think of as life and what we consider death?
Julia Assante: These are huge questions, of course, but one thing that does happen is an intensification of everything. In the same way that when you dream your emotions are more intense, your experiences are more intense, but in this case once you are liberated from the body you have 360-degree vision, because — truthfully — you do keep form, you do keep your senses, but your senses start to expand so that you can, for instance, smell a color. Different kinds of senses come into play.
Those people who die well go into these states. Not everyone does die well, generally because of the fear of death in our society, poor preparation, lack of knowledge, so some people can get into real trouble after they die. I work a great deal with that myself, as a medium.
For the most part, I would say that people are feeling after death wildly liberated and safe and excited, generally. You can’t say what happens after a person dies because anything goes. I have met up with people who have more or less converted themselves in mathematical realities or electrical realities, and others are moving in situations that are very similar to what they experienced on Earth, although more expanded, more beautiful, more charged with energy — especially the sense of Divine energy, what I call The Presence, which seems to be kind of a basic underlying energy that people experience when they die well.
This is a little bit like asking what do people do on Earth. What are you talking about: 30,000 B.C. or modern-day Manhattan? It could be anything. Anywhere the imagination and creativity can go, they can go.
The afterlife itself is clearly not a place and it is not a time. It is not where we go. It’s more about what we become and how we operate in these new levels of reality that are non-physical. About the idea of the afterlife being a place where all the dead go, more and more I have doubts that all the dead go to a specific plane or dimension of reality. I think there is much more mixing in with different types of beings, different levels of reality — what they call consensus realities in out-of-body experiences.
You know, truthfully, we just don’t know very much, and as long as we still get stuck on the idea of Heaven or that afterlife is a place, we will not know anything.
I was asking the question also from the standpoint of my feeling that a part of us is already outside of the human body and perhaps our oversoul sends a hologram into what we call the body — and then after the experience of life in the body concludes, then our consciousness just moves somewhere else.
JA: Well, I think that your gut feelings are as right on as they can get. The operations of the oversoul is something that am I deeply involved with and looking into for my next book.
You’re right about it sort of sending a hologram of itself, with the oversoul’s self embedded in it, but with the defining feature for the core personality. For you, that means Tim, his consciousness, his sense of identity, including his ego. When people die well, and this doesn’t always happen, they do go into a non-physical realm and they develop from there.
In other words, they don’t come back as another person. That other person is another bit of that hologram sent out from the oversoul. So you can have simultaneous incarnations. In fact, you can have several reincarnations in one body. So, we all do stem from the same source. We all share the same knowledge. In that sense, of this oneness, we all already are perfectly transcendent. We are already the oversoul. We have that awareness somewhere in us in the hologrammatic way.
But what most people believe is that somehow a person vacates or the soul vacates the afterlife and fashions a new body and comes back. That’s not how it works.
How does having a conscious view of death affect our quality of life?
JA: Oh, that’s huge. If people understood the real nature of immortality, imagine the sorts of choices they would make instead of the ones they make now. The hustling, the greed, especially in America: all of the things that we do are the result of us acting out of fear of death. Our whole institutions — our medical industry, news and entertainment, governments, the way we teach history, the way we teach anthropology, what it means to be human — all of what we think of as civilized products are based on the fear of death.
Now, all of that would change enormously when one contemplated one’s immortal self on a daily basis. Myself personally, I make my choices in my life based on how it is going to feel or if it is important to me after I’m dead, and that really makes huge differences. I don’t scramble after things that are unnecessary. I don’t get too caught up in petty angers or experiences of that sort. My dog now is my chief guru, because I think he gets it.
What is your perception of the role that animal companions play in our lives?
JA: I don’t think we would be able to survive without animals. I’m not really clear how the animals incarnate and it drives me crazy not to know. As a medium, people come to me and they will ask about their grandmother or their mother, and I will say, “Who’s the white cat?” And they start to cry, because the cat was a big part of their childhood.
Animals also reflect a great deal of our unconscious thoughts, which sometimes can be so strong that you can actually do damage to them. But, more than anything is their sense of support and reminder that life is something to be experienced and enjoyed.
I think 10 percent of all spontaneous afterlife encounters are with pets. That’s huge. That’s higher than a spouse, higher than a sibling. I have seen a lot of people go over, and those who greet them first are their old pets. Often our pets will hang out with other family members, whether or not they ever knew them while they were in the body.
Who are the top greeters for us when we leave our bodies?
JA: Grandparents. That’s not only statistically true, but it is astonishing how often that is true of those with whom I connect as a medium. Sometimes it is great-grandparents, but grandparents are very strong in terms of guidance and concern for their grandchildren. I don’t pretend to understand that, but that connection is there.
In your book you pose an interesting statement about death, that no scientist or skeptic to date has been able to provide a shred of proof that the end of the body spells the end of consciousness. How would widespread awareness that consciousness never ends change the world?
JA: Just contemplating it becomes so exciting. In the judicial system, penal system, and there is nothing you can think about that would not have dramatic shifts. Of course, there is a huge resistance to it. I mean, medicine does not want to cure cancer, and certainly pharmaceuticals don’t. They’d be out of work.
What kind of news would we have without disasters and death and having us all wracked with fear? What about the entertainment industry or the health and beauty industry, or even, I’m sorry to say, the spiritual industry — which it certainly is — and its emphasis on health and energy and blah, blah, blah. Not much difference there.
Let’s talk a little bit about a spiritual belief about reincarnation, that achieving enlightenment is a desired goal. If an aspect of us is already beyond enlightenment, is there a need to do that in this lifetime?
JA: No. Not at all. We are to experience, to create. This experience of physical life is not very common. There are not a lot of realities that offer this. My standard example is a baby sucking on the leg of a table and feeling the coolness of it and the wood and the experience the smell and moving around — just playing with so-called solid matter.
A great deal of what we should be doing here is to stop pushing — whether it is for enlightenment or a billion dollars. Just stop. That is not what this is about.
This drive for enlightenment has a lot to do with, first of all, Tibetan ideas that scorned life on Earth — and to me that is very sad — and also Neoplatonism, which scorned all things that have to do with a body. It also has to do a great deal with social Darwinism and climbing up the evolutionary ladder. I have devoted a whole chapter against this notion. If we stop pushing so much, we would probably have many more experiences than we do. We would probably be more enlightened than we are, just naturally so, because enlightenment is really an unveiling, not a reaching and a striving towards something.
One of the most common beliefs within the spiritual community is that the reason we reincarnate is to advance spiritually from lifetime to lifetime, and I get the sense that you are suggesting that we reincarnate just because we can.
JA: That’s a good way of putting it. Think of the nature of God — not a term I’m particularly fond of, so I think of God as All That Is. Think of a pristine All That Is, one that has not created anything yet. Suddenly there is enough of an imbalance for it to split off and have a witness of Itself.
This is the beginning — not that we can talk about beginnings, but for now let’s use a time frame here. So All That Is, or God, begins to create.
Now, if enlightenment were all that is, you are talking about something that is quite static. It is a non-creative state. It is a perfection — not a goal. If there is an imagined, absolute, enlightened state, a Nirvana, then certainly this extreme bliss is something that is always available to us, whether we are in the body or not. And it will not deny creative movement and growth and expansion and making other versions of ourselves, which we do all the time anyway.
I listened to an interview in which you talked about meeting a woman who is experiencing a parallel lifetime of yourself — and that both of you have met your future incarnation, Bernerd.
JA: Right, Bernerd.
How did you react inwardly when those pieces of information came together.?
JA: (Laughs) I was pretty shocked. At that time, I think I had bought into the idea of sequential incarnations, right?
When I first met Bernard, I was just really a greenhorn in all of this. I hadn’t even started my professional life as a psychic. There was a 20-year lapse between when I met Bernard and when the woman who is an incarnation of me met Bernard. That’s probably the most astonishing factor. I also was guided to my own gravesite in England from the late Victorian period.
For me, incarnation is a dead fact. There are people who go into incarnation memory and come out with brands on their arms from the Holocaust. I think there is very little you can deny about incarnation.
Nevertheless, people find the notion of future incarnations difficult. I lead certain types of workshops where I take people into their future incarnations — and it is remarkable how simple it is. It is just forward memory instead of backward memory, understanding that all reality is flexible. All reality is in constant change: past, present and future. And there are many different versions of yourself out there, each one believing they are the only one.
Your book, The Last Frontier, offers people information on how to perceive the presence of the departed. Why do you help people to have those experiences and what does that add to their understanding of death?
JA: I do this because the need is extraordinary. In any given talk or workshop or situation with a group, I ask people what they are most interested in, and it’s always after-death communication. After-death communication hits home. This is where we hurt, and there is a great deal of unnecessary grief out there in the world.
My goal is to train people to do it themselves, because everyone can. This notion that I’m a medium and the facilitator is actually repulsive to me. I mean, I do it, but my real goal is to get people to do it themselves so they have direct experiences.
First, you get an experience of immortality, which is enormous. Second, you get to know who these people really are without the fear of death. When you are living in the recognition of your mortality, as most people do after they die, they become magnificent beings, and they are often very remorseful for what they have done to us or very helpful, supportive and ingenious. I mean, they are brilliant, for God’s sake, and they have tremendous vision of our futures.
So there is everything to gain in this communication– and also there is a lot to gain from the side of the dead, because they need us. They need to say how sorry they are or tell you that they are all right, even though they got hit by a truck.
Sometimes their need is such a driving force — and in my own house I have seen phenomenon happen when someone is trying to get through and I’m not paying attention. I’ve seen things like giant lamp heads lifting up out of a frame and floating under the ceiling and then falling very gently on the floor. It is astonishing how far they will go to get our attention. We need to break this division down. Telepathy is all you need, and everybody is quintessentially telepathic. You cannot even breathe without it.
After-death communication also can cure impossibly difficult relationships and fears, and it has been known within a few minutes to clear decades-long post-traumatic stress disorder. It is an enormous tool.
You will be presenting a workshop called “Awakening the Inner Senses.” What are the inner senses you speak of?
JA: There are many, many, many, many inner senses. I am only using those that are most accessible to people. Clairvoyance, which I call protobiological sight, would be an example. There is a lot of emphasis on clairvoyance and telepathy. You could sort of think of telepathy as protobiological hearing, but it is a little bit more than that. Telepathy is actually rather huge, and it is really the rubric under which all these senses should fall, for example, a sense of touch, sense of time and a sense of non-locality.
All of these senses get awakened in this workshop. People have an amazing amount of success seeing auras, having after-death communication (which is the telepathy), and reaching into the past and future to meet with incarnations and do healing work. It’s very intensive.
I will be teaching this workshop in Vienna during the course of a whole year in Vienna, starting in October. This is just a taste of how it can work, and people report to me afterwards that their creativity levels are higher, that they are sharper about things and their awareness is more expanded.
It can cause a change in worldview, as it should. It is the knowing that each one of us has all of these abilities and they are always operating. It’s just a matter of focus and concentration. I’m just trying to get people to use what they already have — and to use it consciously.
Every single time I do this workshop, and I’ve done it a lot, I just sit there and sometimes I can’t even get the room’s attention, because they are so involved. During a class with a bunch of scientists in Palo Alto, I had to wolf whistle to get them to shut up, because they were so involved in the process they were going through. (Laughs). These are people who supposedly shouldn’t even be believing in these things who were having incredible experiences with each other. It’s beautiful. I just sit back and sometimes I cry, and I think, “My God, what we really are. How beautiful we really are.”
I’ve always thought that as beings we are vastly infinitely more powerful than we believe we are.
JA: Oh, absolutely.
Is our culture shifting to the point where we are going to see dramatic changes in worldview about these things that we’re talking about?
JA: I don’t have much doubt about that. It’s spreading like crazy. I mean, even the afterlife has unfortunately become an industry. Just in the last 10 years it has gone through a revolution with all the books that have come out, my God. Hundreds of them in a year, where there was nothing a decade ago.
It’s spreading very slowly in Europe, but it’s happening. I think it has more to do with technology than anything else, which I write about extensively in my book, The Last Frontier.
Technology is our training ground. It is our art, and art is always a reflection of our inner life. Technology also is a constant. We are constantly absorbing electronic information, constantly attuned to electronic waves and bytes and whatever, and all of this reality takes place on that level. It is all electric. We’re learning to read the electronic realities that are all around us, that are thrust upon us, and it is really probably the greatest of all training grounds.
With the internet, you can be anywhere in an instant: there is no space and no time. And it keeps expanding. It started with a simple telephone, allowing us to speak to a disembodied voice at an unknown distance.
Technology is the real doer here, and it’s bringing us together. We’re following along with these tools that seem to be coming out of nowhere. I don’t have the feeling that we’re being engineered by higher beings or anything of that sort. I think this is a necessary choice we are making, and many of us see a future in 200 years of a world less populated, greener, more alive, more in tune with a deeper morality. I certainly see that.
One of the problems that we have is that we are deeply an apocalyptic culture. We have been waiting for it, many of us hoped for it, and it appears all the time in every different guise, whether it is fear of the Y2K computer crash when the year 2000 came in or last year’s Mayan calendar. Whatever it is, we’re dying for it — but that apocalypse, in my opinion, is never going to arrive. It does not exist, and we need to drop that.
Is it tied to our fear of death?
JA: It’s a death fear. It’s very upsetting to me that not just psychics, but there are trance mediums who actually describe a future in which Archangel Michael is fighting in the sky with Satan. I mean, my God. I find all this really distressing that this is being taught.
Well, you must be quite encouraged by the younger generations coming today and their perception of reality. It seems to be shifting dramatically from 40 years earlier.
JA: Absolutely. You know, we’re spawning a whole generation of little geniuses.
Their perception of death may be changing, to a degree, compared to earlier generations.
JA: Oh, yeah. The comment that I have on my website is that Americans really expect to have quite a lovely time, being with family and love and peace and all of this kind of stuff. That is not at all what my grandparents would have expected. They expected judgment. So, yes, all of that is changing so quickly it’s ridiculous. The whole concept of God is totally reversed from the Biblical Yahweh.
You’re a scholar of Middle Eastern knowledge. How are things changing outside of America regarding the things we are talking about?
JA: In Europe, you are still seeing more adherence to tradition, but not in the fanatic way of Americans at all. They may go to church, but they don’t feel they have sinned if they haven’t. They go to church because it is a part of the texture of their civilization, and it’s a social thing.
One thing that is very gratifying to see here in Europe is All Souls’ Day, when people really do get out and go to the cemeteries. There are lines and lines of cars around any given cemetery, with people arriving with flowers to show respect to their dead ancestors, and that’s quite lovely. There is less fear of death and there’s less hustle in Europe.
What about in the Middle East where we still see a lot of fundamentalism?
JA: It’s a terrible tragedy what’s going on there. I mean, if you went to Jerusalem 20 years ago, which I have done, men and women could walk down the street arm and arm. Women weren’t veiled. Now all of that has shifted — and Judaism has become more fundamentalist. Catholicism in America has. Most Protestant religions have become more fundamentalist, and certainly Islam.
I think this is one of the last great struggles. It’s like a last gasp, and it seems to me a bit of a reaction to the liberalism that was going on in the 1960s and ’70s. Hopefully we’ll get through it without killing ourselves.
Fundamentalism in any area will abet fundamentalism anywhere else. As it rises in Judaism, as it arises in Islam, the effects are a ricochet. We have seen it rise in Islam in the last 20 years, and we have seen it rise in the States to an alarming degree in the last 20 years. It can’t last. There’s too much pressure from within. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Israel itself. This is an extraordinarily divided country with a lot of fundamentalism. It used to be quite secular, but it is no longer.
Moving forward, what studies in consciousness in quantum sciences have you found personally exciting?
JA: Oh, I am reading a little book now that talks about discovering, and I am developing a workshop around this, too, discovering what your life plan was intended to be. I’m finding that is a very interesting take, in terms of quantum science and quantum biology, I am very deep into that and want to do much more research on that.
I do, in fact, know of and have handled and used a machine that can pick up on the quantum level what I would say is organized consciousness, meaning consciousness that is out there but is not in a body, such as the consciousness of dead people. It’s already been done. I just can’t seem to get this one researcher with whom I am depending on to get moving.
The quantum level is going to explain all of this, the idea of virtual reality, subatomic particles moving back and forth in flashes, from any point to any point, depending on your intention. That’s exactly how we create reality. I find it just endlessly fascinating.
The only books I could point to that seem to explain things most deeply are the Seth books, channeled by Jane Roberts in the ’60s.
I heard an interview recently in which you talked about the publishing of the initial early channelings that led to the more popular Seth books, like Seth Speaks.
JA: A lot of scientists are using them. You can see it all over the place, including (Deepak) Chopra. That early Seth material really explain how we physically make reality. It is extraordinarily exciting material. Going through it a second time, there is a lot of repetition that you don’t notice the first time, but that was the way Seth taught.
The other thing about the Seth material is that it takes a certain level of intelligence to even consider them. A lot of people think that Seth is Satanic because the name is Seth, and they mix it up with Seti, the Egyptian god. That’s just downright stupid, but anyhow, the groups that study out-of-body experiences, like the Monroe Institute, are all Sethies. In fact, Robert Monroe went to Elmira, New York, several times to meet with Jane Roberts. You will find that their material and their approach is drenched in Seth information, and they have a very even, intelligent view on reality systems.
I think the Seth material should be a bigger contribution in the world of spirituality, but it is often shunned because the ideas are very threatening to near-death experiencers.
Julia Assante, Ph.D. will present: “Redefining Death, a lecture, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 28; an introduction to “Opening the Inner Senses” at 7 p.m. Friday, May 30, and
a two-day workshop on “Opening the Inner Senses” on May 31 and June 1 at Spirit United Community, 3204 Como Ave. SE, Minneapolis. Call 612.378.3602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Dr. Julia Assante, visit www.juliaassante.com.
Copyright © 2014 Tim Miejan. All Rights Reserved.