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A guide to the sacred stages of the death and dying process viewed through the eyes of a Celtic anam-áire

• Emphasizes how shadow work, integrating past wounds, and healing our ancestry allows us to facilitate the ecstatic transition into the next life

• Offers exercises and visualizations to help us integrate emotions like anger and grief, which impact the soul’s readiness to leave the body when the time comes

• Discusses what happens to our cells when we die with regard to the human energy field and explores the soul’s journey through the aítes or bardos

In the Celtic tradition dying is considered an act of birthing, of our consciousness passing from this life to the next. The role of an anam-áire is that of a midwife, a sacred guardian of life force, who supports a dying person by witnessing their journey.

Informed by an early near-death experience and her own life’s work, Phyllida Anam-Áire offers an intimate overview of the sacred stages of the death and dying process seen through the lens of her Celtic heritage. Showing that we live on after our body ceases to exist, she takes a look at dying from the point of view of our human energy field, and discusses what happens to our cells when we die with regard to the elements.

Phyllida emphasizes how important it is to work with our psycho-spiritual shadows and wounds and resolve and integrate as much of our pain as possible in this life, so that we may move on unencumbered and gracefully into our next existence. She explains how healing our ancestry before leaving the body eases not only our transition but also sets future generations free from the pain, guilt, and shame held in our family patterns. Including exercises and visualizations, the author suggests ways to integrate suppressed emotions, which impact the soul’s readiness to leave the body when the time comes. She also shares Celtic blessings and poems to support the process of dying and grieving and stresses that what truly matters is the capacity for authentic compassionate love--in life, in death, and after. She addresses the astral body and the soul’s journey through the aítes or bardos and reveals how, when the soul is fully prepared to leave its material form, the dying individual experiences spiritual ecstasy.

Providing a deep spiritual understanding of the dying process and the afterlife, she shows how we can experience the last ecstasy in our present life not only by releasing our fear of death and preparing ourselves but also by living consciously and compassionately until the final moment arrives.

From Part 2: The Elements Leaving the Dying Form

What Happens to the Cells in the Body When We Are Dying


When we are dying, something very special happens in our sacred physicality to support the soul leaving the body. The electromagnetic energy centres in the body begin to lose their inner strength. I believe that this is when the light begins to dim in the cells of the body. Our full biological attention is given over to the dying process. When the light starts to diminish, the cell can no longer hold the energy and so deterioration begins. I was allowed to experience this dying process myself in meditation whilst still in good health.

As the life force leaves the body from the feet upwards, the light also leaves in this direction and so the trillions of cells in the whole body begin to sing the requiem for the form that is undergoing this transformation. The way I described this surreal experience was as if the sounding tones and hues from the exiting energy fields ascended, flowed into the music of the spheres back into formlessness and into consciousness again. This was for me, an extraordinary feeling, as if the physicality was also going through its own enlightenment. When the body dies and when the life force no longer supports the deteriorating cellular systems, the light goes out literally and the outer house is in darkness. The body is without the divine activator as the soul has returned to the great illumination.

During this Near--Death Experience I was fully aware of each movement within my physiology, each impulse. Each tiny movement was felt to a heightened degree and as the lights were dimming in the centre of my cellular system I knew I was in control and could stop the process at any time using a certain kind of oojay breath, known as a sound or snoring breath, thus enlivening the form again. I believe that as the light travels through the body, leaving the body bereft of any voluntary movement, the heart still feels the magnificence of life force and continues supporting the soul in its last grand exit. The heart eventually also gives up the ghost or soul and bows to the angel of death. The Universal Heart then wraps the entity in deep, penetrating Love.

As the body’s energy field or consciousness no longer has enough magnetism to hold onto the physical, to remain earthed, it moves in an anti--clockwise spiralling direction towards the top of the head, the third eye chakra. Then the state of consciousness changes as the soul is now less earthed and we experience what we call ‘the tunnel experience’. This is the place where, if there is unfinished business from the life just lived, we will review this life in the light of grace and non--judgment. It is the place of so called darkness, as we have not yet fully ascended. At this stage we might not be able to take in the full electrical charge of light, as we may still be attached to ego mind where we experience the pain we inflicted on others. This stage is very short as we are still in transit to the illuminative light. The more we can keep our undivided attention on the light the more we will spiral upwards. If we have not been disciplined in our life journeys, we will be distracted very easily at this stage of our dying. But as light attracts light, and we no longer have the magnet energy to draw us or keep us attached to earth, or to the life just lived, we will be guided by the greater light.

A Physiology of Soul

So maybe we can talk about the physiology, the homing place of life force within our biology as the electromagnetic light and life force or even love force that imbues all creation with movement and being. Maybe we can conclude that the soul has its being in the very nuclei, the very photons of light in the cellular structure of our human physicality. It is the spiritual DNA that lights up the whole of creation and us too.

May we learn to live Love so that the light can shine in the cells of our bodies and so lighten our own inner worlds of consciousness, infiltrate our biology and then affect the worlds of the collective.

The egg of possibility
Hatches in our readiness
To bring our creative soul
Into the soil of our ancestors.
Thus contributing to the telling of
A brand new story
Not only for our own next earthing
But also for our children's children
To the seventh generations.

Phyllida Anam-Áire, a former Irish nun, as well as grandmother and therapist, who trained with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, has worked extensively with the sick and dying. She offers Conscious Living, Conscious Dying retreats in Europe and gives talks on children and dying to nurses and palliative care workers. Also a songwriter, she teaches Celtic Gutha or Caoineadh, Irish songs or sounds of mourning. The author of A Celtic Book of Dying, Phyllida lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

  • Publisher: Findhorn Press (August 1, 2021)
  • Length: 176 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781644112656