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Space Clearings

through Cathee Courter and Peter MacGill


by Cathee Courter

He was spooky. Bill, a retired cop, lived in the condo across from the dumpster. Throw in more than one bag of garbage. He'd be peering out through his window blinds, ready to pounce.

Many people don't believe in ghosts, but most—at least most who know Bill—know what it's like to be haunted. Watched. His emotional tone permeated the neighborhood. Handling a Bill, while he's alive, is trying. But (forgive me if I'm presumptuous)he seems the type to stick around after death. He'll be too vigilant on his dumpster patrol to notice a horde of angels beckoning him home. There he'll remain at the condo complex. Sliding through walls into people's patios. Prowling around their bedrooms. Drifting through their bodies. Most people can set pretty good boundaries with the living. Peter and I are here to help you with beings in densities where the rules are different.

I find myself wanting to strut around like Bill (for my clients, after all), organizing, putting even dead people in their place. "They don't belong here," he would say. But they are here. You could say that ghosts are people without physical bodies. Or you could say that people are ghosts with bodies. They are us.

Mystery writers and lodge owners would have us believe that ghosts exist for our entertainment. Tourists visit haunted lodges as they would zoos, but the wild beasts run among them. Truth is, you might find a ghost just as easily in your local hospital or church.

Over the years I've developed great compassion for these earthbound souls, even though they often feel less than pleasant. They're on the downward side of the wheel of life and death, living in the shadows—the letting go, falling back, disintegration. Returning home.


Our medical system has given us a spiritually sterile experience of death in hospitals. But it has also given many patients the near death experience through its machines of resuscitation. Reports of people's near death experiences have formed a symbology that describes a tunnel of light which opens at death as an exit ramp to other dimensions.

Peter and I work with the spirit of this transition zone and the rest of our spiritual team in re-opening the post-death portal for an earthbound soul. The tunnel light glows, alive, alluring. For a long time I couldn't understand how anyone could miss seeing it at death, or refuse to enter it. Death is a natural journey, after all.

In the following pages I'll share with you the ways we've found that people get stuck in the process. My hope is that these words will enable you to understand and even assist any ghosts you encounter. We'll talk about hauntings and attachments, so that you'll recognize when you may need help keeping your space clear. And in the end, these concepts may even smooth your own transition someday.

Can you remember the last time you felt overwhelmingly consumed by anger, regret, or frustrated desire? Now imagine that emotion comprising your entire experience, with no body to ground you. Would folks feel haunted just having you around?

Earthbounds are living in the realm of thought, emotion, and the subtle body—the astral realm. The living have astral bodies as well, which provide lifeforce to our physical bodies. In other words, the difference between a dead body and a live body is whether an astral body (or "spirit body") inhabits it. We can astral project at night, and travel in these phantom-like bodies in our dreams, connected to our physical bodies by an etheric cord. In fact, the ghost knocking around at night in your home may be your child sleepwalking in her subtle body over to get that drink you promised and forgot to bring her. She's one ghost we won't clear.

Since you experience your "ghost body" every night in the dream state, as well as when you think and feel while awake, you may still feel "like yourself" when first dead. Strangely enough, many people don't realize that they're dead immediately after dying. So helping a ghost move on in some cases can be as easy as pointing out to them that they're dead, and that greater happiness for them lies beyond the portal.

When I've read reports of people who have had near death experiences, of how dropping the body felt like slipping off a tight garment in freedom and joy, I wonder about these dead folks who seem pretty oblivious. Some of them die heavily drugged in a hospital, dulled out during the transition moment. Others are caught up in the trauma of violence, the draw of their addictions, or the intensity of an emotional exchange, and are too preoccupied to see or care about the light and spiritual escorts awaiting them.

I find them odd until I admit to myself that I'm much like them. When I'm in a funk, Spirit has to send a friend to come pull me out. For me, it's a dark maze of overanalyzing events I fall into, until someone peers down at me, saying "yoohoo!" It's embarrassing when my emotional drama of the day has eclipsed my greater awareness, even when the triggering incident is much less intense than the act of dying. So I try to have patience with those whose hard day included the end of their bodily occupancy.


The Earth is vibrating faster now than it has for thousands of years. There are many good sources that explain the science behind this phenomenon, but the gist is that our solar system is moving in its orbit of our galaxy into a zone that has an accelerated time matrix. As a result, the frequency difference between the earthbound realm and our realm is decreasing. We're experiencing aspects of the astral realm in our everyday lives. Some call this realm the fourth dimension. Disincarnate astral beings can choose how they appear, can create an astral "virtual reality" to live in, and can travel at the speed of thought. Sound like a "you create your own reality" type of existence? Our thoughts are very powerful now in manifesting our world. (Make sure yours are yours.) The objects of our desires more quickly walk into our experience than they would have years ago.

From the perspective of higher dimensions, the fourth looks like a chaotically busy street. The internet is a metaphor for the amount of information we're deluged with in the astral byways of mass consciousness, and for how easily thoughts are sent and received there. Those caught in this realm—feeling and thinking like us, but without bodies—can see you, whether or not you can see them. But our guides tell us that as density has speeded up, more people are able to sense the presence of earthbounds. And more and more ghosts don't realize that they're dead, because being dead no longer feels so different from being alive.

The earthbound have dropped the physical body, but have not yet dropped the personality. They are still dying, moving away from their identification with their former Earthly life. Some are quite clear to speak with, and others are pretty vague and diffuse, like someone who barely remembers who they were and are not cohered. With not much to ground them, their emotions can dominate their experience in a swirl of impressions.

One of our clients, let's call him Sam, has a refined gift of skepticism toward spiritual matters, which he polishes daily. But one unexplainable phenomenon followed him from early childhood. The Thing. A menacing presence showed up in his dreams, but lingered when Sam awoke.

It turned out that Sam, in a past life, threw The Thing—a pirate—overboard, in the line of duty as a British petty officer. Overwhelmed with his passion for revenge, this pirate found Sam in his present life and attached. (Ghosts are not limited to the time/space of their recent life.) By the time I took a look, this terrified soul seemed to be clinging to Sam for some sense of stability in the emotional realm of the astral, no longer seeking vengeance. And Sam, although repulsed by him, was reluctant to let him go once he knew the story and felt some safety, because this menacing presence seemed to be his only experience of the paranormal. It's funny who you can get attached to, living or dead.


It's not uncommon for a ghost to feel like a monster because you sense their terror, not because they're out to get you. Of course, they might be out to get you! But their behavior is more likely a plea for your attention, an unconscious call for help. And oddly enough, a haunter can move objects, rattle furniture, and blow out appliances while not even conscious of the energies they're discharging. Living people can do the same.

One client had endless glitches with the renovation of her new home. The furnace blew out, a shower door shattered while being installed, the basement flooded, etc., all in a short time frame. She was referred to us by her carpenter who was as eager as she was for the upsets to stop. Her guides suggested that she take up jogging to vent her anxieties—a means of emotional release she had given up during the renovation. She recalled books falling off shelves and cups breaking without being touched in her teen years, and owned that she had a knack for poltergeist activity. Sometimes the haunted is the haunter, even while alive!

Ghosts who consciously wish to make their presence known often will use electricity. The astral body in both the dead and the living seems to be electrical enough to affect the current running through buildings and appliances. I've experienced entities taking all the electromagnetic fields in a building and funneling them right at me, to get my attention.

One client with an electrically active ghost had cared for her ailing parents in their home. Her mother died first, and after her father died, totally paralyzed, it was time for a new chapter in her life. But Dad lingered, shorting out electrical circuits. She had to replace the furnace twice, along with countless lightbulbs. It got to where her kids would be watching TV, the screen would start flickering, and they'd yell, "Cut it out, Grandpa!" More than a year after his death, she approached us with the dilemma, "How do I sell the house with Dad still in it?"

What she didn't tell us until later was that she'd previously hired a woman who used an American Indian ritual to try to help Dad transition out. When this ritualist went home afterwards, lightbulbs popped as she walked down the hallway, and in the bathroom a box of razorblades flew out of the cabinet at her.

Dad's knack for creating poltergeist excitement was unconscious. He was as paralyzed in death as he had been in life. He'd believed that death would be his end.

We worked with him in advance of the clearing in one of the most poignant encounters I've had with a lost soul. Slowing and quieting my energy field to resonate with his glimmer of consciousness, I stayed right with him, mirroring any subtle movement that flickered. Gently, our team lifted him from his coma-like state. How bizarre it must have felt for him to have expected oblivion, but to have slowly sensed his still existence.

For the clearing, we asked his daughter to cook his favorite meal, wear clothes he would recognize, and play his favorite stations on the radio, which shifted her energy back to that of the daughter he'd known. Then we slipped into his dream.

Dad was still too paralyzed to make the decision to move on. So we asked him if he'd be willing to let his daughter decide for him. The moment was so touching I was in tears—father having brought her into this world, daughter ushering him out into another. The house sold quickly, with perfectly functioning electricity.


Even a sleeping ghost can raise quite a ruckus. What happens when you gather a buildingful of astral bodies—both of the dead and of the living?

I lived in Estes Park, Colorado for ten years, the home of three haunted historic lodges. Fate had it that out of three places I lived in town, two were as a next door neighbor to haunted lodges.

When I moved to town, I didn't know much about ghosts, but knew a lot about the power of land. One of these hotel locations was on the side of a mountain where a variety of spiritual groups pilgrimage, Lily Mountain. The other was at the base of Old Man Mountain, which is considered by many archaeologists to be one of the most important historic vision questing sites in the country. According to my guidance, Indians would travel a great distance to say good-bye to their recently deceased loved ones from Old Man Mountain. In fact, I was taken to the summit for the first time by a friend who had bought a condo at its base with the inheritance she received from a brother who'd died climbing a local peak.

Visiting powerful land is a good way to open your psychic awareness. Visiting a haunted lodge can be as well. In both cases, many people before you have contributed spiritual energy, which is held in the land or walls. Folks tend to walk through either location with their auras extended, open to perceiving anything unusual.

A place sheltering a concentration of ghosts will often have a thick substance feel to it, almost as though the haunters are pulling on the building, which is dissolving into their dimension. Upon entering, you're halfway into another realm. Of course, you contribute your own astral energy, so that poltergeist activity is easy for people and phantoms to collectively manifest. At the Stanley Hotel in Estes, a piano is known to be played invisibly on occasion, keys moving with no one moving them. And many tourists have felt the bed press down in a certain room, as if under someone's weight. Mischievous ghosts tend to gather in such a place, to play pranks fueled by the energy of the guests (who may feel sapped by the time they leave, and may even leave with a ghost attached). But this circus is a far cry from how our ancestors sought communication with the realm of the dead in sacred places.

The poltergeist activity is all very well, but a tone of tragedy underlies the commotion. Most haunted lodge travel brochures include the story of someone who died violently or was abandoned in the building. We are invited to come gawk at the unfortunate ghost like bystanders staring at a roadside accident victim without offering first aid. The publicity swells at Halloween, which originally was celebrated as All Saints Eve, a holiday when communion with the dead was a sacred enterprise.

I'm not saying I believe all the stories of haunting tragedy. It's easy enough for a hotel to bring in a psychic a couple weeks before Halloween who will snoop around and dish up the kind of historical fare they are paying her for. Never is there mention of actually helping the poor soul who is seen weeping by the window. And of course, the psychic never says, "I see Agnes Bailey who drank herself to death last year out on Mulberry Lane. She hangs out in the hotel bar now, entering customers' bodies in order to satisfy her addiction. Some become alcoholics under her influence." However, you're more likely to bump into an Agnes than a murder victim in these places.

Admittedly, phantoms of the traumatized sort hardly seem like real people. But living people who are in shock can appear pretty phantom-like too.

When there's no way out of a life-threatening situation, neither fight nor flight, we freeze. The inner core of our brain takes over, called by psychologists the "reptilian brain," which neither feels nor thinks. My pet chameleon in childhood would look one way and freeze, flick its tongue to catch a fly, then be still again in a new pose. He seemed to live outside the fluidity of time, as a series of snapshots.

The anxiety felt as danger approaches charges up our bodies, but disappears in the moment of frozen shock. A sense of selfhood disappears into the black hole of that repressed tension, and the living can take years to retrieve it.

A friend of mine was molested by her father for sixteen years in childhood and adolescence, and didn't recall the abuse until she was nearly forty. It took her over twenty years, even with all the distractions of daily life, within the boundaries of time, to feel strong enough for her unconscious mind to serve up what she could not have integrated earlier. So it seems understandable to me that an earthbound—who is outside of our time constructs—could be stuck for centuries near the location of their death before they thaw, reliving their trauma over and over like some horrible post traumatic stress disorder nightmare.

I had a near death experience in Kansas at the age of eight. No tunnel of light or angels were visible to me. There was no rising up out of my body to gaze down at the scene. I didn't die at all, in fact, but thought I would. My sister Carol lost her foot in that farm accident. We were riding in the bin of a wheat combine when the augur was flipped on to empty the grain. A hole opened in the bottom of the bin, and Carol went down. I clung to the side of the bin, but in my terror a hole was ripped in my sense of the world. Carol is now a physical therapist, using her disability to empathize and give warm hope to her patients. I'm reaching through that hole, helping the traumatized who fall through, frozen outside of life.

The fall-out from my own trauma is something that kicks up and emotionally paralyzes me at times. In my twenties, a masseur once had me on the table for eight hours—he just kept going—kneading my flesh until the memories I'd repressed on that combine came to light. My body had stored the trauma until I was ready to feel it. Similarly, land can store trauma. And apparently, the astral body can as well. I wonder whether the earthbound state is nature's way of holding trauma until even a dead person can regain the fluidity required to transition on.

If you have a traumatized ghost in your vicinity, they may seem ghoulish, rigid, sleepwalking, or agitated. They may not even notice you. Send them love as best you can. They may need to be pulled out of shock, rescued off their personal combine.

This work is done by our spiritual team, which is comprised mainly of much wiser beings than myself and Peter. At times the "soul rescue" takes place very quickly in a whoosh, and sometimes it's intricate. I'm the bait, the fellow human that traumatized ghosts can see in their fog, when they're too constricted to look up at the luminous beings accompanying me.

For instance, during a reading for a tourist in her room at the Stanley Hotel, an ethereal eavesdropping audience gathered with front row seats. I assumed they could hear the thought impulses of the spirit guides who were speaking through me, but they were listening to my channeled spoken words instead. I'm incarnate in the physical, and they recently were. This makes me a touchstone in their intangible world.

My humanness can also help me to reach the not-yet dead. A theatre-going acquaintance was hit by a motorcyclist in London as she crossed the street after a show. Her brain was severely damaged, and a machine was keeping her alive. When my team reached her on the inner planes, she was astrally huddled beside her body, which she could not get back into and make function again. She was beyond panic or despair, in frozen terror. She recognized me, though, and let us calm her enough that she could glimpse another option. Death. Death the blessing. This way to the light. Her son would probably have made the wrenching decision to have the hospital pull the plug, and she would have died in a few days anyway. But someone in that degree of shock can get stuck in it and remain earthbound for a long time without intervention.

The body is important to me, too, for my safety. Peter and I have been groomed to work as a unit, with our awareness at times not only in our own bodies, but in the body of the spirit of our relationship. Everything in form has an overlighting nature spirit, often called a deva, holding its intelligence and pattern. We have "grown" our relationship deva to be a strong ally. Its wisdom can read situations instantly, so that we can act quickly before our rational minds catch up. Remember, whether we are washing a room of negative thoughtforms, vaporizing non-soul entities, or helping souls transition dimensionally, we are working with nature spirits in transforming subtle forms. The being who holds the tunnel of light, for instance, is a nature intelligence. I am able to safely extend out vibrationally into the world of the dead because Peter is sitting beside me, holding the joint deva of our relationship in the material world of the living. Many ghost clearers work without a Peter, but I am very grateful for this partnership. We began working this way in wilderness so that he could hold my humanness for me as I merged into the nature beings on our team, in order to welcome new evolutionary consciousnesses to incarnate on Earth who transcend nature/human polarity.

Body Envy

So your biggest danger from post-life lingerers is not that a flying teacup saucer will bonk you on the head, that your dog will bark herself hoarse at apparitions, or that you'll go crazy being greeted by That Thing when you get home each day. Your biggest danger comes from you having a commodity that many phantoms want. A body.

Bruce planned his lifestyle around the acquisition and consumption of vodka. His liver gave out sooner than his addiction. His craving remained long after his body was gone. Big problem. But he saw a friend of mine, let's call him Bob, a former student of his who also likes vodka. "We can be good drinking buddies," he decided. "I'll just slip into you and get my fix. . . ."

Even though Bob often drank alone, his behavior took on an obnoxious tone when he drank, and he assumed a rebellious attitude. When I talked to him about it, our conversations tended to end with a staredown. At his clearing we discovered the rude drinking buddy, and in the process of encouraging this entity to go through the light tunnel, the professor and I had a staredown in my inner vision. This gaze felt identical to the earlier staredowns through my friend's eyes. To realize that I had been relating to someone else through Bob felt very strange.

Soon thereafter, Bob went camping for a weekend with a generous supply of booze along. He discovered that with the removal of his drinking buddy, drinking had lost its renegade glamour. Vodka was no longer a party in a bottle. It was just a drug with certain effects. He still had to deal with his out of kilter biochemistry—when he gave up alcohol, he craved caffeine. But it has been much easier to sort out physical effects without being under the influence of Bruce. Bob had assumed it was his inner rebellious teenager that had come to the fore in his drinking, but now he realized that his teen subpersonality had actually matured long ago.

And he doesn't miss Bruce at all.

Who's There?

It's eerie how easily people can be influenced by entities without even knowing they are "not themselves" entirely. Their friends will probably notice a difference, but "you know, people change." The effects of influence or possession can be mild or huge, from a change in appetite to a change in sexual preference.

Many who have had dead clingers attached since childhood don't know the difference. There's the fifty-year-old man who seems unwilling to grow up, who has a childhood playmate attached. Or the woman who has almost left behind an early sense of isolation, but for the entity reinforcing it—they had bonded in loneliness.

Have you ever had this experience: you spend time with someone who seems to like you, whether a workmate, friend, or relative. They're relaxed, they laugh with you, and seem open and caring. But later you feel an aftertaste, like an undertone of hostility or some other incongruent attitude. You can't put your finger on anything that was said or done that made you feel this way. It was something in their energy. The ambiguity can be confusing and downright chilling. Who are you dealing with, really?

Ghosts can be an occupational hazard for those working in churches (think funerals), hospitals, nursing homes and mortuaries. Our auric boundaries can be weakened by illness, genetic predispositions, drug use, trauma, or surgery under anesthesia. The intruder can be someone you know from this or another life, or a stranger. You may have moved into a building already haunted. You may have an addiction similar to your parasite's. Or you might just be a nice person with a body that's particularly attractive to someone who just died in the next hospital bed over. Creepy? Certainly.

Our cultural superstition that the physical is all there is, flying in the face of what every other culture on Earth has known, blinds us. We're vulnerable to phantoms because we're not taught what to look for, or what to do about problems in the subtle realms. It wouldn't surprise me if our western culture is more out of touch with the inner life than any other culture has been in the history of the Earth. Blame it on the lightbulb, if you will—not enough darkness to develop our night vision.

Ghosts can attach in ways that feel familiar, such as the overprotective mother who smothers your independence, the sick child who drains you, the lover who merges in. In reality, we are not so separate as we like to think. I mentioned my former neighbor Bill at the opening who, although alive, haunted our condo. A property rental manager once told me that every condo association has a Bill. And my guess is that there are far more ghosts than Bills out there. But it may be easier for us to help you strengthen your boundaries by removing your ghosts, than by helping you to work out power struggles with your neighbor!

Friends sans Bodies

Is it always appropriate to send a ghost on its way? Often, but not always. Each case is different.

If a client is already going through major change, adjusting to the removal of an earthbound may be too much. For instance, a client had been through an unnerving divorce battle, and her adolescent son needed the stability of old ghostly friends more than he needed a clear space, so we left his bedroom alone.

Many of the deceased will stick around for their funeral, and maybe longer with the intention of helping out, but they tend to become frustrated with their inability to be of real assistance to those who cannot readily see or hear them.

One child who died in a bike/car accident stayed to comfort his bereaved parents. His parents' excessive grief prevented him from reaching them, but, being a little more aware than most earthbounds, he reached out to others of the deceased in the neighborhood who were lost and confused. Our clients bought this grand central station for ghosts without really desiring that quality in a home! We turned off the porchlight for ghostly neighbors by reversing a vortex in the house, sent the three entities who were there on, and taught the new owners how to deal with the possibility of ghosts wandering back who had enjoyed the social life there previously. The original child spirit had moved with his parents years previously.

We were once asked to perform a clearing by a ghost! She had followed us home from a social gathering. Joyce had died in childbirth, along with her baby. Someone very close to her on a soul level, let's call her Mary, was a small girl at that time, and Joyce decided to watch over her. Now in her forties with a child of her own, Mary no longer seemed to need her advice, and Joyce sensed it was time to go on. But she wanted to say good-bye. And, since some recent houseguests had left negative energies in the home, she wanted us to clear it. Apparently, living in a negative home can be hard on a ghost as well as on the living inhabitants! Luckily, Mary related immediately to our story, and even sensed Joyce's name without us telling her. She described her experience of Joyce through the years as a voice over her shoulder, who when she was about to make a rash, unwise decision, would encourage an alternative. Mary said good-bye with gratitude. Joyce was an unusual companion, to become aware that she might be meddling, and leave when appropriate.

My Favorite Circle of Death

A minority of ghosts linger to prolong their experience of the death process itself. Often they will be drawn to death geopathic lines. Strong concentrations of lifeforce vitality or death processes occur in certain zones. Animals like vultures and ants whose nature is to help speed decay tend to gather in a death area. Inhabitants of a house built there could be susceptible to illness.

Deep in the national forest is such a spot. A long line of aspen following a creek through a rocky meadow encircles a depression that is marshy in wet years. The aspen stand several deep in a perfect circle thirty feet across, with an entryway of two towering pine trees. A dead fallen pine partially blocks this entrance as it angles into the circle, where it is slowly being turned to sawdust by large carpenter ants. Sparse grasses poke up from dry earth or wetland.

It is here that I met the deva of the human understanding of death in her territory. Our conversations there are brief, as I sit within this circle for five minutes max at a time, feeling myself sucked down into the earth, disintegrating. It's a great place to release unwanted habits and outmoded thoughts. Her presence feels light and pure, like the sweet ring of a ray of sunlight hitting ice. I love her intensely. She truly sees me.

My death deva friend encourages me to counsel ghosts. Most earthbounds are not furthering their growth, and have no reason to remain here. But a small percentage have soul contracts to experience the death of their identity after the death of their body. These people while alive were attached to shallow definitions of themselves, centered around social status, money, career, etc. And now it's time to let go of who they thought they were, to become unglued. This is fast, intense spiritual work for the few ghosts who choose it, but they are usually terrified to be consciously aware in their slow psychological death. Many serious meditators go through a similar process of letting go of identity attachments while still alive. Hanging out in places like this circle of death can speed the process. Many haunted buildings are built on such death spots.

Something finer than either the physical body or the personality will outlive each of our incarnations. When we're preoccupied with the physical, we can easily miss the astral. When we're fixated on certain thoughts or feelings, we can't sense our greater selves. To remain conscious throughout the death of the personality requires shifting your identity so that you identify with the forces that create you, while you let go of the sense of yourself as a particular created form.

Beneath the Swarm

It's especially hard to let go if you're full of regret and self-judgment, feeling like you blew it in life.

We don't specialize in clearing wombats, but when a woman called to inquire, we took the challenge. This being turned out to be a drug addict ex-husband who had lived in the basement for a time, moved to his own apartment, and died of an overdose. She had found his body. His spirit body had moved back into her basement post-death.

We stopped by to check out her wombat. After shoving aside the hefty boxes barricading the door to the basement, she led us down into a devouring churning. We looked around for seven seconds before Peter said, "I think we've seen enough here."

"I think so too," she said, and quickly trotted up the stairs with us right behind her.

Thankfully, our guides suggested that we do this clearing remotely from the safety of home. In fact, they told us to not even look directly with psychic vision at the drug-addiction-related entities that swarmed in that basement like a fog of mosquitoes. In the next section we'll talk about how our team dissolves such non-soul entities in light. As we held focus for this, my impression was that of a bug zapper going zzzt, zzzt, zzzt for quite some time.

The deceased turned out to be a sweet man, full of regret, wanting to do something to make up to his love the pain he'd caused her. I pointed out to him that his living there really wasn't helping, and that he needed to let her get on with her life. He gave permission to go on, but seemed unable to head through the tunnel on his own. He was carried through.

This client had previously hired another professional who wasn't able to get her ex- out. Given how dark the energy was in that basement, I'm afraid many clearers would have taken a violent stance towards the poor soul. Had we not had guidance to remove the addiction-related entities first, it would have been hard to talk to the man inside the swarm.


For at least tens of thousands of years, humans experienced the universe as a great spiral. By cycling through seasons of life and death, we collectively gained wisdom.

Just a few thousand years ago an unbalanced patriarchy arose, and decided it'd be faster if we shot straight up the center of the spiral like a missile into outer space. The trajectory called "progress" was born, which denies death. We're dependent on a growth economy and live in fear that it will cycle. We've conceptualized heaven and hell as continuations of what we're living now, projectiled out for eternity. Since we've repressed death's beauty, we've inflicted violent death on masses of people and have built nuclear arsenals that could kill all plant, animal and human life on the planet. We bury most of our dead filled with toxic chemicals in heavy vaults. Our fields are commonly not fertilized with last year's dead stubble, compost, or manure, but with non-renewable natural gas derivatives.

Some are so caught up with death that they ignore the rest of the cycle. Most hunters I've met are in the woods only for the kill, never there to witness the wonder of the birth of deer, elk, or pheasant.

However, we proudly participate in the cycles of life and death by recycling our spent plastic bottles.

We've lost much wisdom by shutting out death. Death and decay—uncreation—reveal the substance/process out of which creation springs. I like to call it the void, but it's dynamic. It's consciousness in its essence. Patriarchy has given us teams of ghost hunters who, loaded with measurement devices, go around re-traumatizing traumatized phantoms, screaming at them to leave. I am not a ghost hunter. Call me, if you will, a priestess of death. Her ravaging beauty lies in revealing the essence of who we are.

"Get that thing out of here!" may be the level of compassion many exhibit towards ghosts. But I think our fascination with them stems from a buried spiritual desire to participate in the Great Cycle of life and death.

Ascent from Hell

A fear of hell—the antithesis of the Great Cycle—is a common reason for people to loiter on this side of the afterlife door, afraid to go through. Many writers have said that in the astral realms your thoughts create your experience, and if you expect fiery dungeons or streets of gold, they're yours—until you mature. So the Near Death Experiencers who experience hell are still in a phase of letting go of their projections.

Those who have been steeped in the fear of hell their whole lives have lived hell while alive.

A typical scene: before me is a scared soul I've been hired to clear who fears the flames. Since I may be the only live human who has been able to hold a two-way conversation with him since his death, he certainly hopes I'm trustworthy. After all, I'm about all he's got to pull him out of his unhappiness. He can't see my entourage of beings of light. The tunnel of transition appears for him. He is terrified to enter it. In many ways, I don't blame him. It's like a slippery chute, and the man who starts down that slope won't be the same man who emerges on the other side of that dimensional shift. I coach him in climbing the steep cliff of his resistance to the entrance. "Your next handhold is to the right above your head," I encourage. "Even a former pope has said that hell is a state of mind, not a place. There is nothing to fear but your own fear."

We ask for someone to come for him, and he recognizes his mother welcoming him at the end of the tunnel. "Is it likely that your mother is calling you to hell?" I ask. He pulls himself up a bit more, finds a foothold, clings. "See if the tunnel feels loving to you." He moves toward it, cramped in apprehension, not perceiving the huge net of light undergirding him. There is no real danger.

Meanwhile, my client shifts on the couch, waiting hopefully. The dead man has been giving his children nightmares. A lot is at stake here for him too. I'd like to share with him what's happening, but my focus in needed with the cliffhanger.

"Open to that love," I call. A hesitancy. A shift. And he's through. As the tunnel closes, sparkles of enlivening light waft down. I can hardly wait to be enfolded in that glowing womb at my own death. Hopefully, my client got a whiff of the brilliance too.

Spanning Realms

I'm fluent in many theological languages. My graduate school courses in Christianity, African religions, Judaism, Buddhism, and American Indian religions, other courses in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism, and overviews that included Islam, etc. may enable me to help a variety of people. But in practice, I'm channeling most of what is spoken anyway. And, this is strange, but I was a United Methodist pastor decades ago, and I still don't know what Christianity really holds forth about "heaven," as popularly conceived. The "kingdom of heaven" as a spiritual state—yes. But compared to, say, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Bible is vague on the details. No matter. Twenty per cent of even fundamentalist Christians believe in reincarnation. And few people believe in purgatory, a medieval staple, nowadays—funerals are expensive enough without paying the church for indulgences to move your loved one up. Beliefs change, even within the same religion. But death doesn't. All religions are looking at the same death phenomenon, one in which you ultimately can't take your beliefs with you any more than you can take your stock portfolio!

Personally, I've learned the most about death from talking with the spirit of a salsify wildflower as I watched her release silken parachutes to the wind. Her four inch seed head is geometrically intricate, golden, and lasts intact only a couple days. As the breeze pulls her apart before my eyes, I grieve, knowing that within minutes before me will be but a narrow stalk, soon to shrivel into a hollow tube. But she is ecstatic, fulfilled in her expansion of potential as life-compressed seeds cover the meadow. Her spiritual presence remains strong even in the stalk as it dries, sepals reaching around and up like a graceful frisbee thrower frozen in the posture of a fling. "Of course, I'm not dying, ultimately" she tells me. "I've been here for thousands of years. So have you."

My sense is that I will return to my oversoul that seeded me. I am learning to put my identity there even while alive. In fact, the same oversoul also seeded Peter, my spirit guides, and other beings on our team. When we go into this aspect of ourselves, we work as one. Since our team members span the realms, we are able to bridge them and help people cross the Great Bridge in death.

Similarly, even though Peter and I call in "whatever masters are appropriate," if a person has been close to Jesus or a buddha or any spiritual being, that being is with them intimately before and after death without needing to be summoned. Chances are good that a spiritual adept won't need our services to get to the other side, unless the effect of a traumatic death trips them in opening up.

Our job is to work with the natural forces of incarnation and de-incarnation. We walk people into the transition between the Earth plane and whatever lies beyond in as loving and uplifting a manner as possible.

What happens in our clearings comes from higher guidance, irregardless of my intellectual concepts and limitations. My guides tell me that they channel higher consciousnesses, who channel, ultimately, the One. They've told me, "We move with the winds of grace, and so what needs to be said is said when it needs to be said—when you ask. It's not that we know the answers to your questions. It's that we know how to say what needs to be said when it needs to be said." I learn something new in the intense involvement with each unique clearing. We go with the flow.

I would gladly trade all the philosophy in the world for my ghost send-off experiences. Remember, we're working with traumatized, confused, troubled, and troubling folks for the most part—not saints. All move towards the same magnificent light, whether joyfully or half-unconsciously. Whatever lies on the other side of that transition, it's got to be marvelous.

Parallel Space

Likoni and Chenoba had honored their ancestors their whole lives. How could they not? The very earth beneath their feet was composed of the remains of countless generations. Sacred rock formations had cradled their ancestors as they sought visions, weaving the spirits of humans and land together in the awareness of the miracle of being here, alive, in this place.

But they were forced from this place. The young couple were uprooted by the white man's military, and were cruelly marched — dragged, really — across the long plains to a reservation. The only consolation in their heartbreak was that their young son—a hope for the continuation of the tribe — was with them.

At a stopover camp in the middle of a vast reach of prairie grass, he took ill and died, with many others. His parents trudged on, but died of grief a few weeks down the trail. They shunned the idea of crossing over, obsessed with finding their son.

Amy gave me a quick tour of her new home, where I was to do her personal reading. In this midwestern town, sidewalks were rare, let alone cathedral ceilings, designer colored walls, and perfectly manicured landscaping with no ivy, oak, or lilac bushes overshadowing the features of the house. The home was beautiful, and probably identical to homes being built in countless suburbs across the country.

She had divorced her husband after he'd had an affair, and the custody battle over their toddler, Isaac, had been exhausting. There was still friendship between the ex-couple, and she even wondered whether they'd be together again someday. For today, she was furious that he had brought Isaac back to her many hours late on his birthday from a small party. She also told me of repeated nightmares she had that seemed so real, of someone wanting to steal her child. She didn't like to go into her bedroom much. She felt a demanding presence in there. Was she losing her mind in her struggle with her ex-?

A simple reading turned into quite a clearing, and we discovered that the custody battle with her ex had been tame compared to the possessiveness of her unseen rivals at home. Likoni and Chenoba were in a timeless realm, where their loss of their son felt like it happened yesterday. They were used to the ability of astral beings to change appearance at will, so they recognized loved ones by their energy signatures, much like friends who have never met in person can still feel a closeness in cyberspace. Their yearning for their son had turned to ecstasy at finding him here (albeit in a different body) on the land where they had lost him. Obviously, he was theirs, at long last. I had to cut through their emotional torrent to introduce a bit of reasonableness, and ask them to admit that happiness for them did not lie in haunting Amy indefinitely.

Had they been able to pull through their grief and despair at the time of their deaths, they would have soon found their son on the other side. I imagine that after awhile, their soul family congealed for a meeting there.

"They're sure stubborn. It's been centuries that we've tried to reach them. It's time to go back in. Let's become Amy and Isaac to work out issues of possessiveness toward a child, and while we're at it, pry our ghostly soul family members loose and bring them home."

In our clearings and enhancements, we like to help strengthen for our clients a sense of place. Someone can live in a city apartment made with no local materials, doing their work in cyberspace, and walking outside only on concrete and asphalt. But with a resident ghost, they can become viscerally connected to the history of the land beneath them, haunted by a sense of place. It's not all bad, if you're looking for roots!

Cosmic Change

Peter and I never really know what will happen at clearings. But they always flow smoothly and very effectively. We've never met a ghost we couldn't budge when we ask if it's appropriate for them to go, and get a "yes." (We always ask.) We are catalysts for "what needs to happen" to happen. We ask you to join us in affirming the appropriate. Especially the appropriateness of death. For many people in the near future.

Did I just lose you? Let me explain.

Imagine that you are the soul of an improvisational theatre group. You send forth characters which are aspects of yourself, to interact with other actors you've sent forth. Together the play moves forward in the exploration of your group's soul purpose.

Now let's feel your identity as one of these actors. At times you feel impulsed by the movement of the group intent to let go of one character role and take up a new one. Rather than getting attached to a particular part, you stay on the cutting edge of creativity, of what needs to happen for the whole organism to express itself.

Now let's say your improvisational group has been working within the stage of a particular planet, in a solar system within a galaxy. The solar system moves through a new part of the galaxy, and begins to provide a time/space stage of a different geometry. The old stage matrix provided a platform for exploring polarities like good/bad, nature consciousness/human consciousness, masculine/feminine, self/other, etc. The stage is evolving to support dramas that transcend these polarities. New improvisational crews are arriving to explore new paradigms that will be supported on the planet.

The groups that had creatively played out certain themes for thousands of years are not better or worse than the new ones. They explored a denser stage, one that was extremely challenging, poignant, with great extremes, where individuals could explore their uniqueness in an atmosphere of separation.

We're in a transition zone where many who came in to explore the older themes are no longer supported vibrationally in these explorations. Masses will be leaving the planet, and those whose soul contract is to create a smooth transition and greet the new ones coming may find themselves also helping those who are done here to transition. That exit is called death.

The nightly news gives us counts of how many have died in this upheaval or that. These statistics can engender fear. My guides encourage us to not get upset when we will see lots of death happening. It's just the stage door.

You may feel led at some point to help souls depart, especially during natural disasters or war, even just by holding your identity in the highest vibration that you can, and exuding peace in the confidence that death is natural—nothing to be feared. Shining the light that you are helps fearful departing souls reach for the light that they are, beyond the body, beyond the personality, beyond a particular lifetime.

On occasion, ghosts in our clearings are scooped up and carried out. It's best, however, when an individual is persuaded to choose to stop resisting what's appropriate and relax into the greater flow that is carrying them home, to consciously participate in the bigger picture.

I'm very excited by the changes upon us. They are pressing people into incredible transformations in our cellular makeup, our psyches, and our lifestyles. Working with individual ghosts stuck in the death process highlights how our species on this planet is in many ways stuck in the letting go of old ways of being. Clearings are especially important at this time, to prepare fertile ground for the new.

Imagine the old stage dramas thrown out, of power struggles, individual angst, and tragic romance. The stage is being prepared for fresh themes, which may include some of the following:

A sense of separateness always within an overarching sense of oneness.

One's identity being simultaneously as an individual and as one's group soul.

The uniqueness of your gifts being valued more than hierarchy or consensus in social organization.

Creativity beyond that fueled by free will.

Pleasure more exquisite than the polarity tension and relief of sex.

The stage open to the sky, to participation by other kinds of species, many non-physical, in harmony with the human species.

Human, mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms valued as equally precious, with close relationships between them.

Thoughts manifesting quickly, limitations of travel falling away, endless possibilities.

If these or similar paradigm shifts come about, lots of folks may feel like they're on the wrong planet, uncomfortable, eager to leave.

I honor the ghosts we meet for their courage in living often challenging lives. I honor even more our clients who want their spaces cleared, to allow room for new possibilities to thrive. Bless you.

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© Cathee Courter and Peter MacGill, photos and text.

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