Testimony of Light
Testimony of Light
: An Extraordinary Message of
Life After Death
Book Talk by
Perhaps it is a truism that
most humans, out of fear, either avoid thinking about death and the hereafter,
or spend much time searching for answers about that very subject.
As we age in our Earthly lives, the topic
becomes more and more intriguing when we ponder what may be in our immediate or
Fortunately, various authors have provided resources
that prove helpful to at least some of us.
We find some answers in books by talented
mediums, such as James Van Praagh in
The books by psychotherapist Michael Newton,
Journey of Souls
(Llewellyn, 1994) and
Destiny of Souls
(Llewellyn, 2002), provide many
insights into the after-life.
I was especially
delighted, however, to discover another remarkable work, recommended by a
An Extraordinary Message of Life After Death
by Helen Greaves (Jeremy P. Tarcher / Penguin, New York 2009).
This unique work, originally published in Great
Britain by the [Anglican] Churches' Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual
Studies in 1969, has been in print for some forty years, but I had never heard
of it -- perhaps because it wasn't published in the U.S. until more recently.
Now, however, I have come to treasure this easy
to read, instructive and intriguing
Most books about the
afterlife are either mediumistic reports or articles from psychotherapists who
discuss the experiences of various clients.
Never, until this book,
have I read a day-to-day report of one person's
experiences after death over a period of two years in Earth time.
This work is truly unique, intense, and
The book begins with
a brief synopsis of the life of Frances Banks, an English woman who spent 25
years as a nun in the Anglican Church, much of her time as Sister Frances Mary
of the Community of the Resurrection in Grahamstown, South Africa.
Besides serving as Principal of the Teachers'
Training School College, she earned an M.A. in Psychology and was "author of
many books on psychology."
Later in life she left the order to explore the
psychic and spiritual in the Anglican Church's Fellowship for Psychical and
Spiritual Studies, a group that has "helped countless people integrate their
psychic experiences within a fully orthodox Christian faith."
At that time she met Helen Greaves, an author,
and "for the last eight years of her life [they] worked together psychically and
Helen's first impression of Frances Banks was "that
this was a woman of tremendous force of character and tremendous willpower."
They worked together until Frances died of
cancer on November 2, 1965.
The book begins with
Helen's description of Frances' last days and her death.
Then it quickly moves to a re-establishment of
the previously strong telepathic link between the two women.
Helen became aware at first of "a Presence"
about three weeks after Frances' death.
Then some days later she felt the telepathic
link with Frances' mind impinge on her own.
It became apparent that it was Frances'
intention to dictate the story of her after death experiences to and through her
friend, Helen Greaves.
Helen reports, "Now that she was evidently restored to
consciousness and awareness after the change into her new life, the first
burning desire would be to make known all that was happening [and] to
send back at first
For Helen, "It was almost as though I took dictation."
Apparently, this activity was not just the
desire of Frances to tell her story, but as she explained later, she was "under
the inspiration of a group, or band, for this transmitting of her impressions of
the Life Beyond to be translated into a book."
We may infer from this that some entities in
the after world wanted to send this information back to humans on Earth as a
helpful service to them.
This idea of service to others is a major theme
throughout the book.
And so the dictation
to Helen began on December 5, 1965, and continued on a fairly regular basis for
the next two years.
From this process we, the readers, have an intense
description of the day-to-day, week-to-week progress of Frances' experiences and
journey in the afterlife.
In every case we find her experiences fascinating,
inspiring, and consoling.
In order to gain all
the insights and information about the afterlife as shared by Frances, one needs
to read the entire book.
That is an easy task as it is only 160 pages in
But we can discuss some of the major themes that are
explored in this delightful work:
The newly transitioned individuals receive
appropriate healing while they become accustomed to the changes in their
As they settle in, they move to their
appropriate place in the spiritual world.
One moves forward spiritually through service
Everyone belongs to a Group, actually many
different kinds of groups.
The extent of Life after Life is endless.
Probably most people wonder,
"What will happen to 'me' when I die?"
The story of Frances is very reassuring.
Every individual who crosses over -- with a few
exceptions explained in the book -- will receive immediate, kind, loving care.
Frances "wakes up" in a kind of "rest home" run
"by the Sisters of the community to which [she] belonged when in incarnation,
and under the care of her former Mother Superior Florence and Anglican priest,
She needed some time to recuperate from her illness.
She learns that "Souls are brought here from
earth and from other places. . . . They are 'nursed' and taken care of here, as
We learn from
Frances' reports to and through author Helen Greaves that individuals come and
go after different intervals.
This portion of the book is intensely
interesting as we meet the various individuals who pass through the "rest home
Each is cared for in relation to their needs.
Some stay for relatively short periods and
others remain for a long time.
Frances tries to explain how time doesn't
really exist in the afterlife, but she needs to use those terms to explain
processes to readers.
As Frances adjusts to
the energies and different consciousness there, she feels "great joy to learn
that one can still exercise one's skills in this new life."
She chooses to help out at the rest home and to
use her teaching and tutoring skills.
Each day she learns more and more.
She says the early days are "a stretching of
the mind period."
She is still "herself" but she now views her problems
and hopes "from an entirely different angle and with far greater dawning
Many students of
metaphysics have heard of the "life review," that intense reviewing of one's
Earthly life in order to perceive what one did "right" or "wrong."
Frances notes: "There is no compulsion . . . to
review one's past life on earth as soon as one arrives. . . .
Some take a long time to tackle the problem."
She does report her own shock when she starts
to review her life:
"a true humbling of yourself to find that you did so
little when you would have done so much; that you went wrong so often when you
were sure you were right."
"patients" that pass through the rest home provide learning experiences for both
Frances and the readers of the book.
They range from Doctor X, who believed his life
to have been a failure, but who had actually achieved much and was an old,
advanced soul -- to a man who had been a Nazi leader who had committed suicide.
He had been "rescued" from where he had been
"wandering in the lower places, imprisoned by his own evil."
Frances says, "He has come to us to be healed."
He will spend a long time in a kind of sleep
Another lovely temporary visit in the rest home is a
young child who quickly moves on to join family members.
And so we learn
through Frances' experiences that every individual has an appropriate place in
the afterlife, a place of great love and comfort.
We also learn that each one has many
opportunities to learn and evolve spiritually in order to progress to higher and
higher spiritual levels.
Often this progress involves various kinds of service
to others, often utilizing one's already developed talents and skills.
Frances reports that "bit by bit, we move away
from earth ideas and limitations, and advance more into Light and Wisdom."
Frances learns, with
some humility and dismay, that one cannot leap up to high spiritual levels of
vibration in one jump.
It is a gradual, step-by-step process that one moves
through; each step of advancement must be earned.
She reports, "The Planes of the Spirit stretch
onward into infinity. . . .
You can't push yourself into heavens beyond
you; the Law of Progression is exact."
In the afterlife "the newly transported soul
graduates always to the rightful place it has earned and prepared."
Gradually, with each experience Frances has,
she grows in understanding.
She says, "We have to learn to live in this new
frequency; to guard the doors of one's mind. . . .
Here the thought-pattern is determinate of
one's welfare, one's progress, one's happiness and joy. . . . Every soul must
assimilate the Way before proceeding onward into planes of even higher
Frances continues to
teach and learn.
She works with many who arrive expecting to find what
Frances terms "a super Welfare State," a "heaven of utter delight" in which "no
efforts would ever be needed by them."
Many expect to rest "in the arms of Jesus."
Now Frances had spent much of her earthly life
within a Christian religious organization.
But here she has learned that "Lord Jesus lives
in a Plane far beyond this [where she is].
Moreover she has learned that "no soul coming
here from earth's limitations, however advanced it may be in spiritual truth, is
able to stand the stepped-up vibrations or the translucent Light of these High
Planes. . . .
One has to earn every step of advancement."
Over time Frances
comes to comprehend the importance of Groups.
She sees that "Our 'patients' stay with us
until they have adjusted to this new life and are ready to join their dear ones
or their Special Groups."
She notes how on Earth individuality tends to be
emphasized and society has largely down-played the significance of Groups.
She says, "We are, to my limited knowledge, all
members not of one Group, but of many, and the many make up the Great Group or
the Great Soul Being in which we live and move and have our being."
She then identifies some of
the Groups to which we belong.
First "we belong to a Family Group."
The next Groups are "Groups of interest," such
as "the arts, music, education, social sciences and social service."
When souls arrive in the afterlife and "have
cleared the receiving houses [like the rest home where Frances serves], they
pass on to, first, the Family and then later to the Special Group of their
There are groups at higher levels that Frances equates
to "advanced classes in a university."
Those Groups are guided by "great Beings [who]
watch over the progress of their cell-like clusters of souls."
Beyond these Groups are other Greater Groups.
"All is progress. . . .
Life is a continuing Path towards one's
This unique, remarkable
little book provides readers with endless insight and inspiration.
Each page is so rich that it is impossible in a
book discussion such as this to do more than just touch upon a few of its
I have read it twice and intend to repeat it again and
No one can fear Death after reading this book.
The same goes for Life on Earth because the
book shows how here we also have opportunities to learn and grow in ways that we
can continue to utilize in the after life.
There is no end to the All that Is.
A good way to
conclude our journey through Helen Greaves' and Frances Banks'
Testimony of Light
is to note just a few words of wisdom that touch our soul in this book.
Frances summarizes the "message which we want
to put across" in this work:
There should be no fear of death, for the death
of the body is but a gentle passing to a much freer life.
That all Life is lived as a serial, that we go
from one experience of living to another experience of living at a different
rate, i.e., on a higher level of awareness.
That much of what we thought praiseworthy on
earth is mediocre to us in the Light of wider knowledge, and conversely much for
which we blamed ourselves and were blamed by others, is viewed here from a wider
angle and even becomes merit!
This wonderful book assures us that "all is order,
And all is Unity."
*Gayl Woityra has a
web blog on books at
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