What Happens When We Die: A Psychic's Exploration of Death, Heaven, and the Soul's Journey After Death

What Happens When We Die: A Psychic's Exploration of Death, Heaven, and the Soul's Journey After Death

by Echo Bodine


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What Happens When We Die: A Psychic's Exploration of Death, Heaven, and the Soul's Journey After Death by Echo Bodine

With her signature wit and fearlessness, beloved psychic and healer Echo Bodine offers answers to life’s biggest questions: Is there a heaven? Are there people who have been there and come back? Do we have souls? Can we communicate with deceased loved ones?

Based on Echo’s personal experience of observing the souls of people nearing death and communicating with souls who have died, this comforting book shines light on the dying process and the afterlife. Her clear and fascinating stories demystify this universal experience and demonstrate that death is nothing to fear. You’ll learn about:

* the stages the body goes through preceding death
* the white light and the tunnel that lead to the other side
* how to make sense of the death of children
* what happens to those who commit suicide
* the nature of heaven

Echo offers practical tools for being with dying loved ones (including what not to do), for grieving (through the poignant experience of her mother’s passing as Echo was writing this book), and for cultivating clear communication with the deceased. Learning what happens when we die can be inspiring, reassuring, and profoundly life changing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608680351
Publisher: New World Library
Publication date: 10/08/2013
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 225,785
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Echo Bodine is a renowned spiritual healer, psychic, and teacher. Her previous books include The Gift, Echoes of the Soul, and A Still, Small Voice. She lectures widely on intuition, spiritual healing, and life after death; cohosts the bimonthly online show Sisters for the Soul; and has a popular blog. She lives in Minneapolis.

Read an Excerpt

What Happens When We Die

A Psychic's Exploration Of Death, Heaven, and the Soul's Journey After Death

By Echo Bodine

New World Library

Copyright © 2013 Echo Bodine
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60868-036-8


The Soul

Webster's New World Dictionary defines the word soul as "an entity without material reality, regarded as the spiritual part of a person." The concept of a soul was somewhat elusive to me in my younger years. When I was a child, I used to say a prayer that ended with "if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." That was the only reference I had about having a soul.

I was in my twenties when I saw my first soul, but I didn't realize what it was. A friend of my mom's, Carol, was hearing noises up in her attic, so Mom and I went to investigate. The world of psychic phenomena was new to us and we really didn't have a clue as to what we were doing, but we gave it our best shot.

There in the attic of Carol's house were four people, but they were transparent. I didn't really understand why they were there or how they could be there. The adult female explained to us that her husband had been an alcoholic when they were living and that he had fallen asleep with a lit cigarette. They and their two kids all perished in a fire. She said he wouldn't let them go to the other side because he was afraid he would be sent to hell. Mom and I had no idea what to do or say to this woman other than that they needed to leave. In response, they went through the wall of the attic and disappeared, but by the time we made it back to our house, Carol was calling to say that the noises were back. We decided then that we needed to learn a lot more about how to handle these situations before we went to any more haunted houses, because we hadn't gotten rid of her ghosts at all and they continued to live in the house with Carol and her family.

When I was twenty-seven, I began my journey of communicating with souls, and it was because of a fourteen-year-old boy who had fallen eighteen feet, had landed on his head, and was comatose. I have told this story before but retell the basics here because it taught me so much — and illustrates so much.

The young man, Dale, was flown from Nebraska up to the University of Minnesota hospital, and his family called me to do healings on him. I had done several healings on his stepmom for heart problems, and that's how they knew to contact me. The doctor had said there was a 10 percent chance that Dale would ever come out of the coma, and the nurse told them that he would probably be a "vegetable" (yes, that's the word they used back then) if he did recover consciousness.

I went to the hospital every day on my lunch break to work on Dale. It was my second or third time doing healings on him when his soul first appeared to me. I was standing over his body, channeling healing to him, when from behind me, I heard a male voice say, "Would you please heal the speech part of my brain? I want to talk again." It was rather startling because there was no one else in the room, but when I heard the same words a second time, I slowly turned around, and there was a young man leaning up against the wall. I was taken aback because I didn't know who he was. On the hospital bed in front of me, Dale's head was covered in bandages, so I didn't know what he looked like. I asked this being who he was, and he very nonchalantly said he was the soul that lived in this body. He reiterated that he really wanted to speak again and asked me if I would please heal the speech part of his brain.

From then on, every day when I went to the hospital I communicated with Dale's soul. He told me which parts of his body were in pain and which parts needed healing. He taught me that when the soul is out of the body, the body experiences very little pain, but when the soul comes back into the body, the pain is intensified. He showed me by going in and out of his body. When his soul was in, his body moved around and breathed more deeply than when he was out. When his soul was out, his body remained very still and his breathing was shallow. To understand this, imagine that the soul is made up of energy and has the same effect on the body as if you put in a fully charged battery; the body becomes stimulated with energy when the soul is in.

Six weeks after I began communicating with his soul, Dale left the University of Minnesota hospital — walking and talking.

Facts about the Soul

I have been working with people's souls for close to fifty years and have learned many facts about them.

• A person's soul looks just like their physical body except the soul looks younger and less stressed and is transparent. Souls appear in clothing.

• The soul is attached to the body by a silver cord, similar to the umbilical cord. The cord is severed at the time of death.

• The soul is our personality, and it lives on after death.

• Each of us has the same soul in every lifetime, and it continues to grow in awareness, wisdom, knowledge, and consciousness.

• The soul goes back and forth between genders; in half of our lifetimes we are male, and in the other half we are female.

• The soul takes many out-of-body journeys when the body is sleeping. This is called astral projection, and you'll be reading about it later in the book.

• When a person is in their dying process, the soul spends much of its time out of the body, preparing for its new life on the other side. During this time, the soul visits with deceased loved ones quite often and reacquaints itself with its new (old) home, heaven. When the person physically dies on this side, they are being born into the other side, in a sense. They aren't born as a baby, but they are beginning a new life. We often hear stories about people seeing a white light as they are approaching heaven. What do you suppose a newborn baby is seeing while coming out of the birth canal? The white light, of course.

• Animals have souls too. When my chocolate Lab Jessie died, I was very sad for days, but since his passing I've seen him several times running around the yard like he used to. Yes, our precious pets do have souls and do go to heaven. They are being cared for on the other side, and you will see them again.

Before we dive into the subject of death and life after death, I want to talk about life for a bit. I've written a book called Echoes of the Soul that I highly recommend if you would like to take an in-depth look at life, death, and life after death from the soul's perspective. There's a lot of information in there that people have found very helpful, and if I had an extra hundred and sixty pages here, I'd share it all with you, but for the sake of space, I'm going to give you a brief recap.

Our souls are made of energy, and the purpose of our lives here on earth is to develop ourselves to our highest potential. We come from God, and we have to discover what that means. The Bible says that God is perfection and we are made in the image and likeness of God, and the we here refers to our soul. But it's one thing to be told we're perfection and another to understand what that means, so we come here to earth, to continually develop ourselves to our highest potential and become even more conscious of our oneness with God and our perfection. At the end of each lifetime, we leave the physical body we have been residing in and go back home to rest up until the next time we come here.

Believe it or not, you have probably died at least two hundred times by now, depending on how old a soul you are, so death is "old hat" to your soul. There are different ages of souls and different levels of consciousness. (In my book Echoes of the Soul, you can read about the various levels of souls and what each of them means.) To give you an idea of an old soul versus a new soul, Buddha (a very old soul) said it took him 665 lives before he became enlightened (I'm hoping he was a slow learner). The reason you don't remember any of your soul's earlier lives or deaths is that your sanity would be jeopardized if you did. It would be too overwhelming to have recall of all you've been through in your past lives and then have to deal with your current life, so God in His/Her wisdom put a lock on the subconscious mind (the mind of your soul) so that you need to work at getting that information, usually through hypnosis.

Before you came into this lifetime, the Elders drew up a blueprint for your life (also known as your life plan), with or without your help — if you are an older soul, then you may have helped in the planning process, and if you are a younger soul, the Elders planned your life on their own. The Elders have lived all their lifetimes and completely understand what experiences each of us need to further our soul's growth. Remember, the object of each life is to grow and advance in wisdom.

The things you want and need to accomplish in this lifetime are collected in the "life book" of your soul; some gifted psychics can access this information for you. The life books of all people are stored in a place called the Akashic Records. I've seen the Akashic Records in many readings, and it's an amazing place that looks like an enormous, very elaborate library.

The family that you were raised in was chosen as the best place for you to experience what you came here to learn — yes, even if you were adopted, lived in an orphanage, or were born into an abusive family. And your life plan indicates when you will die, which the Elders refer to as "graduating." Your astrological chart includes "exit points," or times in your life when your soul could leave and go back home if it felt it had accomplished all it wanted to. Not everyone has multiple exit points; many have just one. I'm going to talk more about this in chapter 4, but the point I'm making here is that the timing of your death was planned before you were born.

So with that being said, let's take a good, long look at the subject that everyone is afraid to talk about: the shutting down of the physical body.


Physical Death

There are many ways to die — suddenly, slowly, violently, painlessly, peacefully, terrifyingly, alone, and with family, to name a few. I think it's important to address what's going on physically in death before we look at it from the soul's perspective.

If you are a caregiver of someone in their dying process, or the person dying, you'll want to know what to look for as they, or you, move through this process. Having this information keeps you out of denial, which can be a powerful hindrance for both the dying person and the caregiver. Our body does not want to know that it is dying. It was created to survive all kinds of challenges on the earth plane, so when it comes to actually surrendering to the final step called death, most of us don't want any part of it. As Woody Allen said, "I'm not afraid of death. I just don't want to be there when it happens."

When waiting for a loved one to die, most of us feel absolutely helpless — which we are. This is the final episode of their and we need to be respectful of this time for them. I can't begin to count the number of people who have emailed me asking why it's taking so long for their loved one to die. Many people try to rush this process along, thinking that sooner would be better for everyone, but there are reasons that the dying process is short for some people and long for others. Rushing the dying process is similar to inducing labor in pregnant women. Births and deaths happen when they are meant to happen, and from the soul's perspective, there is always a reason for the timing and the supposed delay.

When my father was dying, one of the hospice nurses gave me a pamphlet explaining the three stages of death that he may or may not go through. At first I didn't want to look at it because I didn't want to acknowledge that he was really dying — not my dad; he would always be here. But as he moved deeper into his dying process, I wanted to understand it so that I could still feel a connection with him.

I recently went online to find a list similar to the one the hospice nurse had given me, and I found a beautiful article called "The Journey Towards Death" by Angela Morrow, RN (seehttp://dying.about.com/od/thedyingprocess/a/process.htm). I would like to share part of it with you, because it explains the stages of death in such a loving, gentle way.

* * *

The Journey Begins:

One to Three Months Prior to Death

As one begins to accept their mortality and realizes that death is approaching, they may begin to withdraw from their surroundings. They are beginning the process of separating from the world and those in it. They may decline visits from friends, neighbors, and even family members. When they do accept visitors, they may be difficult to interact with and care for. They are beginning to contemplate their life and revisit old memories. They may be evaluating how they lived their life and sorting through any regrets. They may also undertake the five tasks of dying. [According to Dr. Ira Byock in his book The Four Things That Matter Most, these tasks are: 1. Ask for Forgiveness, 2. Offer Forgiveness, 3. Offer Heartfelt Thanks, 4. Offer Sentiments of Love, and 5. Say Good-bye.]

The dying person may experience reduced appetite and weight loss as the body begins to slow down. The body doesn't need the energy from food that it once did. The dying person may be sleeping more now and not engaging in activities they once enjoyed.... The body does a wonderful thing during this time as altered body chemistry produces a mild sense of euphoria. They are neither hungry nor thirsty and are not suffering in any way by not eating. It is an expected part of the journey they have begun.

One to Two Weeks Prior to Death

Mental Changes

This is the time during the journey that one begins to sleep most of the time. Disorientation is common and altered senses of perception can be expected. One may experience delusions, such as fearing hidden enemies or feeling invincible.

The dying person may also experience hallucinations, sometimes seeing or speaking to people that aren't there. Oftentimes these are people that have already died. Some may see this as the veil being lifted between this life and the next. The person may pick at their sheets and clothing in a state of agitation. Movements and actions may seem aimless and make no sense to others. They are moving further away from life on this earth.

Physical Changes

The body is having a more difficult time maintaining itself. There are signs that the body may show during this time:

• The body temperature lowers by a degree or more.

• The blood pressure lowers.

• The pulse becomes irregular and may slow down or speed up.

• There is increased perspiration.

• Skin color changes as circulation becomes diminished. This is often more noticeable in the lips and nail beds as they become pale and bluish.

• Breathing changes occur, often becoming more rapid and labored. Congestion may also occur, causing a rattling sound and cough.

• Speaking decreases and eventually stops altogether.

Journey's End:

A Couple of Days to Hours Prior to Death

The person is moving closer towards death. There may be a surge of energy as they get nearer. They may want to get out of bed and talk to loved ones, or ask for food after days of no appetite. This surge of energy may be quite a bit less noticeable but is usually used as a dying person's final physical expression before moving on.

The surge of energy is usually short, and the previous signs become more pronounced as death approaches. Breathing becomes more irregular and often slower. "Cheyne-Stokes" breathing, rapid breaths followed by periods of no breathing at all, may occur. Congestion in the airway can increase, causing loud, rattled breathing.

Hands and feet may become blotchy and purplish (mottled). This mottling may slowly work its way up the arms and legs. Lips and nail beds are bluish or purple. The person usually becomes unresponsive and may have their eyes open or semi-open but [is] not seeing their surroundings. It is widely believed that hearing is the last sense to go, so it is recommended that loved ones sit with and talk to the dying during this time.

Eventually, breathing ceases altogether and the heart stops. Death has occurred.

* * *

I would like to make a couple of comments about this list from my observations. The first has to do with the dying speaking to deceased family members. If you find this happening, they are not hallucinating. Either the family members are there in the room with them, or they are seeing the family members on the other side. The door from our side to the other side, commonly referred to as the veil, is wide open for the dying at this time, and they are much more focused on the other side than this one. Pay attention to the quiet little conversations they are having. It's fascinating when their consciousness is open to both sides of the veil. If you try talking to them, they may not hear you or might become disoriented when they realize that two different people are talking to them at the same time. For example, they may see their deceased sister talking to them while hearing their living sister talking to them, and this can cause agitation or fear. Be aware of this when you're at the bedside of those in this phase of dying.


Excerpted from What Happens When We Die by Echo Bodine. Copyright © 2013 Echo Bodine. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


CHAPTER TWO: Physical Death,
CHAPTER THREE: Getting Death Out in the Open and Celebrating Life,
CHAPTER FOUR: Exit Points, the Fence, and the Slide,
CHAPTER FIVE: The Conscious Mind's Awareness, Acceptance, and Communication about Death,
CHAPTER SIX: What Is the Soul Doing While the Body Is Shutting Down?,
CHAPTER SEVEN: What Does It Feel Like to Die?,
CHAPTER NINE: The Soul's Journey from Death to the Funeral and Beyond,
CHAPTER TEN: When Children Die,
CHAPTER ELEVEN: The White Light, the Tunnel, and Heaven,
CHAPTER TWELVE: After-Death Communication,
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: My Mom's Dying Process,
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Coping with Loss,
About the Author,

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What Happens When We Die: A Psychic's Exploration of Death, Heaven, and the Soul's Journey After Death 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, comforting book for all. The unknown can be scary but with the author's years of experience with people who have passed she puts any fears to rest. A recommended read for everyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book helped me understand how and why we leave earth and go to another place called heaven. Also brings me relief that my chances of seeing my parents and siblings again are great. Thank you for helping me with my grief.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unless the author has actually died and come back to life thete is no way she knows what happens when we die. And liars and hucksters notwithstanding, NO ONE has done that. There are, however, plenty of people willing to pay money for drivel.