Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
February 24,   2011
Testimony of Light



Testimony of Light: An Extraordinary Message of Life After Death


Helen Greaves

Book Talk by

Gayl Woityra*


            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 near future.  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 Unfinished Business (Harper-Collins, 2009).  The books by psychotherapist Michael Newton, Ph.D. -- 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 friend:  Testimony of Light:  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 volume.


            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 inspirational.


            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 spiritually."  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 hand."  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 length.  But we can discuss some of the major themes that are explored in this delightful work:

1)     The newly transitioned individuals receive appropriate healing while they become accustomed to the changes in their consciousness.

2)     As they settle in, they move to their appropriate place in the spiritual world.

3)     One moves forward spiritually through service to others.

4)     Everyone belongs to a Group, actually many different kinds of groups.

5)     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, Father Joseph.  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 am I."


            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 hospital."  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 comprehension."


            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."


            The various "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 state.  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 frequencies."


            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 interests."  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 particular Group."


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 treasures.  I have read it twice and intend to repeat it again and again.  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:

1)     There should be no fear of death, for the death of the body is but a gentle passing to a much freer life.

2)     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.

3)     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, advancement, progress.  And all is Unity."


*Gayl Woityra has a web blog on books at http://love-that-spirit.blogspot.com


To order Testimony of Light from Amazon.com, click here!


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