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The website of Author/Writer and Psychic Medium Astrid Brown. Making the most of 'YOU' i.e. how to achieve well-being and beauty from within ourselves. A truly holistic blog providing information on all aspects of psychic mediumship, spiritualism, philosophy, holistic therapies, nutrition, health, stress, mental health and beauty with a little bit of Wicca for good measure. Feeling and looking good is as much a part of how we feel inside as the outside.



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I am a great believer in Karma, but just what is it? Karma comes from the Sanskrit and ancient Indian Language with the underlying principal that every deed in our lives will affect our future life. For example, if we treat others badly during our lifetime we will have negative experiences later on in that lifetime or in future lifetimes. Likewise, if we treat others well we will be rewarded by positive experiences.

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Today I am blogging about inexperienced Psychics/Mediums. There are many psychics/mediums around who give the profession a bad name, t...

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Friday, 16 March 2018



Aromatherapy is a very gentle soothing therapy and can be very effective however aromatherapy oils can be dangerous if safey rules are not ahered to. Essential oils MUST always be diluted the only exception is Lavender and even then as a precaution should be patch tested. There is information on Carrier Oils later in this article.


It is the systematic use of essential oils in Holistic treatments to improve physical and Emotional well being. Essential Oils are extracted from plants and possess distinctive therapeutic properties, which can be used to improve health and prevent disease. Both their physiological and psychological effects combine well to promote positive health. 

Essential Oils can be applied in a variety of ways such as in massage, baths and inhalations. They are readily absorbed into the skin and have gentle physiological effects and Aromatherapy is an especially effective therapy for stress-related disorders and a variety of chronic ailments

Aromatherapy has its roots in ancient civilisations i.e. the Ancient Egyptians and the Romans used plants and herbs and oils extracted from these for religious, medical and cosmetic purposes and in the Ancient Egyptians used Essential Oils for Embalming and Preserving. 

What are Essential Oils? 

Essential oils are aromatic, volatile substances extracted from a single botanical source by distillation or expression. They are found in leaves, the hairs on leaves, in flowers, in tree bark or roots, in fruit pulp and peel. Similar to animal hormones, they are sometimes referred to as the plants’ ‘Life force’. The cells containing essential oils are generally close to the surface but they can only be seen with the help of a microscope. The essence is either stored in the cell where it is made or, as is the case with citrus fruits, moved to special storage sacs. 

Essential Oils are: 

• Aromatic, have a distinctive and often fragrant smell 
• Volatile, evaporate quickly in the air and to varying degrees depending on the oil 
• Very powerful when neat, are usually blended with a carrier oil for massage purposes 
• Flammable, must be kept in a cool place away from heat and/or naked flames 
• Soluble in oil and alcohol, (in water they will form a suspension) 
• Liquid, exceptions include Rose Otto and Benzoin, which are semi-solid Non-greasy, despite their name, the oils are generally light and not oily Expensive, producing the plants and extracting the oil is labour intensive and thus not cheap.

Essential Oils come from various parts of the plants. Some plants only produce one oil e.g. 
• Basil oil from Basil leaves 
• Carrot from Carrot seeds 
• Pine from the needles and sometimes the cones of Pine trees 

Other plants produce several oils from different parts e.g. each Sweet Orange tree produces three essential oils 

Petitgrain from the leaves and branches 
Neroli from the blossom 
• Sweet Orange from the peel 


How should oils be stored? 

Essential oils are delicate and expensive; it is therefore wise to look after them. They should be stored: 

• Away from extremes of temperature, heat will evaporate them and cold can affect their composition 
• In dark, amber/blue glass bottles, essential oils are sensitive to ultraviolet light, they should not be stored, or bought in plastic because it affects the molecular structure of the oil 
• In tightly sealed bottles, to protect them from evaporating in the air and to stop contact with the air from changing their composition 
• Out of the reach of children. 

Are Essential Oils Safe? 

Used correctly essential oils are very safe, mainly because they are used in such tiny amounts. When used in the wrong dilutions and in the wrong conditions they can produce adverse effects. Certain oils should never be used, under any circumstances and some should not be used for specific conditions. 

N.B. Essential oils are very strong and should not be swallowed. If oil gets into the eye rinse it immediately with lots of water. If necessary seek medical advice. 

N.B. Essential oils should never be used in the first three months of pregnancy. For the rest of the term, Mandarin is the only oil, which may be used. 



What are the specific effects of Aromatherapy?

Using Essential Oils affects the Human Body 

Pharmacologically, essential oils are chemical and so are humans. Once essential oils have been absorbed into the body, either through the skin or inhalation, the chemicals in the oils enter the blood and other body fluids and interact with the chemistry of our bodies e.g. hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters are all chemicals and the presence of another chemical (the essential oil) can affect the way they work. 
• Physiologically: physiology is the way our body works. Essential oils can affect this by changing the chemical messages and impulses sent around the body and thus changing the way the systems of the human body function e.g. if an oil has relaxing and de-stressing properties, it may help to relieve the symptoms of stress displayed by our bodies e.g. slowing heart rate and breathing rate or encouraging tense muscles to relax. 
• Psychologically: the way essential oils affect our mind is more difficult to describe, mainly because everyone’s mind id different. However, our sense of smell is closely linked to our memory so that particular smells can cause particular responses: e.g. if you dislike the smell of Roses, Rose oil is unlikely to relax you; if Jasmine reminds you of a good holiday then its smell will bring back happy memories and provoke a positive response. 

General effects of Aromatherapy

There are certain effects from using essential oils which result from most treatments, especially since relaxing and/or hands-on application methods like massage and baths are very common in aromatherapy. 

General effects include:

• Reduction in Stress & Tension 
• Feeling of Well-being, Balance and Calm 
• Antibacterial effects of oil help the body to heal and support the immune system. 

How do essential oils penetrate the skin? 

There are two ways that oil can safely penetrate the body: 

1. Smell/Inhalation 
2. Absorption via the skin Ingestion, i.e. swallowing them is not safe. 

Smelling & Inhaling Essential Oils. The Nose & Olfactory Tract Smell is the fastest way for Essential Oils to penetrate the body. The molecules travel up the nose and there are two results: they send a message to the brain and nerves which respond to the new smell and they pass into the blood stream via the lungs and the respiratory system. 

In order to understand how this works, it helps to understand the structure of the Olfactory Tract. 

Most of the nose is concerned with breathing: inhaling air into the body and exhaling it out, however it is the organ of smell and thus very important in a therapy based on the power of aromas! At the top of the nose there are two areas of pigmented tissue known as Olfactory Membranes. They contain the olfactory, or smell-sensing cells, which have fine hair-like protrusions called cilia. The olfactory cells connect to nerves in an area known as the Olfactory Plexus. Once triggered, these nerves send messages along the olfactory Nerves to the Brain, particularly the Limbic System. This is the area of the brain that deals with Memory, Emotions, Our Basic Instincts and Mechanical Functions. When essential oil molecules pass over the olfactory cells, it is thought that these cells trigger receptor areas, which send an impulse via the olfactory plexus and nerves to the brain. Here the information is processed and interpretated (with either positive or negative associations). Depending on the interpretation, the brain sends messages to other parts of the body to elicit a response e.g. Grimace! The brain may also react to different chemicals in an essential oil and produce particular effects e.g. a relaxing or sedative substance may cause the brain to send out a message of relaxation either to the whole body or a particular part. 

How do Oils Penetrate the Skin? 

Essential oils are absorbed through the skin. In order to understand this, it helps to understand the skin’s structure. Being the largest human organ it is water resistant, but extremely minute substances, such as the molecules of an essential oil, can enter the tiny pores of the Epidermis, as well as penetrating through the hair follicles and the sweat glands. From here they enter the blood capillaries in the dermis. Once the oil reaches the blood and the circulation it is transported around the whole body. 


Essential Oils are almost always used in a blend. They are blended with Carrier oils for use in massage and in some cases, baths. The correct blend is very important because essential oils are potentially toxic if used undiluted. They are also highly concentrated and will therefore not go very far in a massage on their own! 

What is a Carrier Oil? 

Carrier oils are known as fixed oils because unlike essential oils, they do not evaporate when heated. They are extracted from plants, flowers, nuts and seeds and those generally used in aromatherapy do not have a strong smell as it might interfere with that of the essential oil. Some carrier oils contain fat-soluble vitamins e.g. A, D, E and K, minerals and proteins in differing amounts, so have healthy benefits of their own. 

Carrier Oils Used in Aromatherapy are:

• Of vegetable, nut or seed origin 
• Refined preferably cold-pressed 
• Stable, not volatile 
• Used neat 
• Non sticky 
• Lubricants for aromatherapist’s hands thus giving a smooth massage. 

There are several suitable carrier oils, which can be used alone or in a blend with other carriers. Some are lighter than others and often the thicker denser oils, which are more expensive and may be used, mixed with a lighter oil to make them go further. Lighter oils are better for a full body massage because they allow smoother movements whereas the thicker oils are more useful for massage on a small area. 

Recommended carrier oils are

Grapeseed Evening Primrose Calendula Sweet-Almond Avocado Macadamia Wheatgerm Jojoba Peach-Kernel 

DILUTIONS What are the correct dilutions? 

Dilutions depend on two factors i.e. the treatment and the scale of the treatment. The following are just guidelines and the more experienced Aromatherapist will adapt them according to circumstances. Treat dilutions and blends like a medical treatment i.e. a prescription must provide the right drug and dosage for the condition and patient. The same care should be used to create blends i.e. use the right oils for the problem in the appropriate amounts. For a treatment to work, just like a prescription, the quantities and qualities of both essential oil and carrier oil must remain constant. 

How much Essential Oil should be mixed with Carrier Oil? 

Usually from 1 % to 2%, the maximum dilution should be 2.5% of Essential Oil. 

How do I work out & measure these percentage? 

1 % equals one-drop essential oil to 100 drops carrier and 2% blend equals two drops essential oil to 100 drops carrier. 
Does that mean I have to count out 1OO drops of carrier oil? – No, 100 drops of oil is equivalent to 5mls or one teaspoon, therefore 1 % dilution would be one drop of essential oil per 5mls and 2% would be two drops per 5mls. 
Are there any instances when these dilutions are wrong or need changing? Use a maximum 1 % dilution when treating:

• Clients with sensitive skin 
• The elderly 
• Children 
• The weak/convalescent 
• Pregnant or breastfeeding 

How much oil is needed for different treatments? 

Full body massages require about 20-25mls carrier oil i.e. 8 drops essential oil per 20mls. 

For face massage only about 5mls of carrier is required i.e. 1-2 drops of essential oil per 5mls. 
Absolutes may contain traces of solvents so a weaker solution i.e. 1 % blend should be used. 

Baths essential oils float or sink so drops should not be added directly to the bath water but should be mixed with a small quantity of an emulsifier such as a fragrance-free shampoo, bath gel, liquid soap or even full cream milk before adding to the bath. 

Those with sensitive skin should use a lower concentration and take care with those oils known to cause skin irritations. 

Burners use two drops of the chosen oil in water 

Compresses soak the cloth in 100mls of water and add two drops of the chosen oil. 

Steam inhalations use one drop of essential oil to a bowl of hot water, two for a stronger effect. 

N.B. When using essential oils, always be very careful if in doubt, don’t. 

How Long do Blends Last? 

The average shelf life of a blend lasts approximately 3 months however by adding 10% Wheatgerm oil this can be extended to approx. 6 months. 

Can oils be used undiluted? 

Only in specific circumstances i.e. Lavender or Tea Tree, though some may be sensitive to the latter. Blending Oils that blend well Oils that are in the same botanical family to which they belong blend well i.e. the citrus e.g. Grapefruit & Lemon etc. 
Botanical Families & Examples Woody Cedarwood & Pine Herbaceous Marjoram & Clary Sage Citrus Bergamot & Lemon Floral Geranium & Rose Resinous Galbanum & Frankincense Spicy Ginger and Black Pepper 

A general guide to blending can be gained by looking at the ‘Note’ of the individual oil. The Note is a measure of the volatility of the oil, of which there are three main categories.

Top Notes 
• Fresh & light in aroma 
• The fastest acting • The quickest to evaporate 
• The most stimulating & uplifting to both mind and body 
Middle Notes 
• Moderately volatile 
• Primarily affect the functions of the body systems e.g. the digestive system etc. 
• Affect the general metabolism 
Base Notes 
• Are rich & Heavy 
• Slower to evaporate and therefore mixed with top notes, help to ‘hold back’ the volatility of that oil 
• The most sedating & relaxing 

A Frenchman named ‘Piesse’ developed the categorisation of oil notes during the 19th century. He classified aromas according to their harmony with other oils and based their grade on the musical scale; each aroma forming perfectly balanced chords or harmonics when combined with other oils. The simplest ratio being 3:2:1 i.e. Three drops top note, two drops middle and one drop base. 

Contra-indications for aromatherapy are the same for any massage with the proviso that certain oils will not be suitable depending on the client’s condition. 

MPB (c)

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Tuesday, 20 February 2018


I don't know who owns this site (SEE LINK BELOW) and I found it purely by chance. I urge other authors to check if their works are on this site as they infringed my copyright. They claim they do not do this however this is not the case. I have since complained to them. As expected its a difficult site to navigate to find if your works are on there. It really makes me angry how people can take our work and read it for free. They have no idea how much work goes into a book as it can take years sometimes of editing and re editing the manuscript ready for publication. On average books are not that expensive and authors are not charities this is how we make our living, after all I'm sure those of you who work don't work for nothing! 
Readers this site is breaking the law if it infringes copyright

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Wednesday, 24 January 2018


I came across this article and felt I just must share this

12 Little Known Laws Of Karma That Will Change Your Life

What is Karma? Karma is the Sanskrit word for action. It is equivalent to Newton’s law of ‘every action must have a reaction’. When we think, speak or act we initiate a force that will react accordingly. This returning force maybe modified, changed or suspended, but most people will not be able eradicate it.
This law of cause and effect is not punishment, but is wholly for the sake of education or learning.
A person may not escape the consequences of his actions, but he will suffer only if he himself has made the conditions ripe for his suffering. Ignorance of the law is no excuse whether the laws are man-made or universal. To stop being afraid and to start being empowered in the worlds of karma and reincarnation, here is what you need to know about karmic laws.
– “As you sow, so shall you reap”. This is also known as the “Law of Cause and Effect”.
– Whatever we put out in the Universe is what comes back to us.
– If what we want is Happiness, Peace, Love, Friendship… Then we should BE Happy, Peaceful, Loving and a True Friend.
– Life doesn’t just HAPPEN, it requires our participation.
– We are one with the Universe, both inside and out.
– Whatever surrounds us gives us clues to our inner state.
– BE yourself, and surround yourself with what you want to have present in your Life.
– What you refuse to accept, will continue for you.
– If what we see is an enemy, or someone with a character trait that we find to be negative, then we ourselves are not focused on a higher level of existence.
– “Wherever you go, there you are”.
– For us to GROW in Spirit, it is we who must change – and not the people, places or things around us.
– The only given we have in our lives is OURSELVES and that is the only factor we have control over.
– When we change who and what we are within our heart our life follows suit and changes too.
– Whenever there is something wrong in my life, there is something wrong in me.
– We mirror what surrounds us – and what surrounds us mirrors us; this is a Universal Truth.
– We must take responsibility what is in our life.
– Even if something we do seems inconsequential, it is very important that it gets done as everything in the Universe is connected.
– Each step leads to the next step, and so forth and so on.
– Someone must do the initial work to get a job done.
– Neither the first step nor the last are of greater significance,
– As they were both needed to accomplish the task.
– Past-Present-Future they are all connected…
– You can not think of two things at the same time.
– When our focus is on Spiritual Values, it is impossible for us to have lower thoughts such as greed or anger.
– If you believe something to be true,then sometime in your life you will be called upon to demonstrate that particular truth.
– Here is where we put what we CLAIM that we have learned, into actual
– Looking backward to examine what was, prevents us from being totally in the HERE AND NOW.
– Old thoughts, old patterns of behavior, old dreams…
– Prevent us from having new ones.
– History repeats itself until we learn the lessons that we need to change our path.
– All Rewards require initial toil.
– Rewards of lasting value require patient and persistent toil.
– True joy follows doing what we’re suppose to be doing, and waiting for the reward to come in on its own time.
– You get back from something whatever YOU have put into it.
– The true value of something is a direct result of the energy and intent that is put into it.
– Every personal contribution is also a contribution to the Whole.
– Lack luster contributions have no impact on the Whole, nor do they work to diminish it.
– Loving contributions bring life to, and inspire, the Whole.

Original Post Date: July 23, 2014 –

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Saturday, 20 January 2018


Today I am featuring a member of my group Astrid Brown Author Group on FaceBook, A group where members, can discuss, books, paranormal, poetry, fiction and writing.

Graeme Harvey

Graeme's website Censcottherapies

A full range of hypnotherapy services provided in a relaxing atmosphere, at our therapy suite, at your home or office. Now Listed as one of the top Three in West Lothian at ThreeBest Rated.co.uk

Graeme posted these interesting pieces on my group page.

Past Life Regression

As a Hypnotherapist I deal with a wide variety of client issues but I found that sometimes the cause of a phobia or behavioural issue does not come from any experience in the current lifetime. I became interested in Past Life Regression through a colleague and studied the subject in depth. I also decided that I needed to experience it myself and underwent a number of regression sessions with various practitioners. To date I have been regressed to eighteen past lives and have learned a great deal about myself and why I know how to do things in this life that I have ever been taught to do. I also learned that you can be male or female, you are very rarely the same nationality and you also discover your soul purpose(s) in all lifetimes. Mine are to be a teacher, healer and protector which resonates with my current life as I was a Police Officer, I am now a healer and I both teach and mentor other therapists. I also discovered that you may recognise people who are with you in this lifetime but have been with you in others but not necessarily in the same relationship. Another major benefit was that it has eliminated my fear of death as I know it is only part of the journey. 

I use PLR in two ways, first as a method of finding the root cause of client issues and the second is what I refer to as past life tourism. The caveat on the second way is that if anything is discovered that is still causing issues today then it is dealt with and left in the past. It is also often possible to check records and confirm that the person the client claims to have been actually existed and I have managed to trace one person back to 1610 in France, the chateau she lived in still exists and is now a country hotel. In my own case my most recent life I was a soldier in WW1 and was shipped out to the Somme in October 1916, I described a couple of battles then was taken forward to April 1917 by which time I was a patient in a nursing home in Oakhampton Devon and was discharged as no longer fit for military service on 17/4/17. The Regimental records confirmed everything I had mentioned and also revealed I had been awarded the Military Medal, something I did not mention. PLR is a fascinating process which I recommend. I do sessions face to face in my therapy suite in West Lothian or by Skype worldwide. More information and contact details are on my CenScot Therapies page here on Facebook.

Future Life Progression

Having posted about Past Life Regression to me the natural progression is going forwards into the future. If we can go back in time there is no reason why we cannot go forward. Time, apparently, is only a concept that exists in the third dimension which is where we live as humans, however recent research indicates that the brain works in some eleven dimensions. I am not getting involved here in discussion about parallel lives etc. With future life progression as I mentioned briefly in a previous post, we take the clients into their future so that they can see for themselves everything about their future. Normally we will work with going forward five and ten years and if they like what they see they can bring back all the information they need and can accelerate the process. If they do not like what they see we can give them access to alternative futures and pick one they like the look of better. 

I have dealt with a wide range of clients to date and they have all had positive experiences and learned much. In the year leading up to the Scottish Independence referendum I slipped in the question "how are we getting on with Independence?" and every single, one happy or not, all said that it had never happened. I published my findings a week before the vote giving the result as 57No 43 Yes, and as we now know the actual figure was 55No and 45 Yes. I did the same leading up to the Brexit vote and was even more accurate with that result. There are so many things we can do with FLP, as I mentioned above clients can accelerate the process and one noteable situation was of a woman who was in a very bad marriage, five years into the future still the same but ten years into the future and it was totally different, she had left her husband and had a new much more loving and caring partner. She recognised the new partner as one of the instructors at the gym she was attending, she did not wait for years but was living with him within six months of the session. 

We can and often do take clients much further forward into a future life, when I was taken forward during the first training course I was on I was taken to 2359 where I am a doctor based in a clinic in Africa where my main task is teaching other medics mind healing to heal the body. Some of the information I got from that visit I use in my hypnotherapy practice today to great effect. Another time I was taken forward to meet my future self 1000 years in the future and connect with my future energy. I felt like I was nuclear powered for weeks after. If you are interested in FLP there are iota of videos on U-tube many of which were filmed on one of the courses I was on. One does involve me under hypnosis describing the world ten years from now. I am always glad to answer any questions and with Astrid's permission will post some case studies for both FLP and PLR from time to time.

Graeme can be contacted at his Webpage above

or my group on FB
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Wednesday, 20 December 2017


As you know this is primarily a Holistic Blog and I was pleased to find this useful information site 

Women Living Naturally

Women Living Naturally was created to give women as much information as possible on their health care concerns.

The site offers you the latest, most trusted information & alternative holistic treatment for Menopause, Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and Polycystic Ovarian Disorder so you can make an informed choice to improve and extend your life. Given the facts you can decide to try natural holistic agents that have been tested and verified by certified facilities.

Astrid Brown (Author)
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Saturday, 9 December 2017


I came across this article in the Daily Mail. As a medium my job is to give survival experience i.e. evidence of survival of life after death. I usually do this with linking with spirit, generally loved ones who have passed related to the person I am giving a reading to. I look for specific evidence, like what caused their death, their name, their character and a physical description, sometimes I may get addresses and I look for details only the person I'm reading for, would know. Now I have no doubt of life after death, I have been given proof over and over again so read the article below.


How does a near-death experience change you? Brain surgeon DR EBEN ALEXANDER heard heavenly music and saw waterfalls flowing into crystal pools

I was taken to the hospital where I worked as a neurosurgeon. The doctors discovered I’d contracted a type of meningitis, and very soon the part of the brain that controls thought and emotion shut down as the bacteria ate away at my brain. Pictured: Dr Eben Alexander 
I was taken to the hospital where I worked as a neurosurgeon. The doctors discovered I’d contracted a type of meningitis, and very soon the part of the brain that controls thought and emotion shut down as the bacteria ate away at my brain. Pictured: Dr Eben Alexander 
Caroline Cook was 16 years old when she attempted suicide. Traumatised by her parents’ divorce and struggling to cope with her mother’s mental illness, she swallowed an overdose of sleeping pills.
After spending three days in hospital in a coma, she awoke to a shockingly vivid memory that has never faded.
Now aged 63, Caroline says: ‘I suddenly found myself standing in a beautiful, lush, green forest, looking out over pastures filled with flowers with snow-capped mountains in the distance, all beneath a brilliant blue sky.
‘The colours were vivid, yet everything was bathed in a white light, even the sky. I felt joyful and happy to be there.’
An old man appeared beside her, with white robes and a white beard. He, too, was bathed in white light.
‘You cannot stay here,’ he told Caroline. ‘It is not your time yet. Go back and finish living your life.’
Another woman, Alison Leigh Sugg, had an experience that was both similar and surprisingly different.
During a difficult labour with her second baby, in 1999, she suffered a severe haemorrhage. Bleeding profusely, she lost consciousness. Her heart rate slowed and then flatlined.
The emergency doctor in charge was Dr Margaret Christensen. Alison lay dying on the operating table, but she could not be operated on until enough blood had been pumped back into her veins to let the heart start beating again. Unable to begin surgery, Dr Christensen decided to lead the medical team in a short prayer instead.
‘Please guide us to heal Alison’s body,’ she prayed. ‘Please guide her spirit back into her body.’
Caroline, who had a near-death experience, says: ‘I suddenly found myself standing in a beautiful, lush, green forest, looking out over pastures filled with flowers with snow-capped mountains in the distance, all beneath a brilliant blue sky'
Caroline, who had a near-death experience, says: ‘I suddenly found myself standing in a beautiful, lush, green forest, looking out over pastures filled with flowers with snow-capped mountains in the distance, all beneath a brilliant blue sky'
Alison was unconscious, but still somehow aware that her vital energy was leaving her body through two areas simultaneously: her nose, mouth and throat; and the point between her eyebrows.
This energy seemed to flow together at a point above her body, until she was looking back down at herself, with both indifference and compassion.
Other energy seemed to swirl around her, in a spiral of light that propelled her up and away. She drifted into inky blackness, before what she described as ‘a wondrous being of light and sound’ appeared in front of her, emanating profound love.
She had no language for what she was experiencing. The ‘being’ communicated with her, seeming to project a thought: ‘You have a choice.’ Realising that it would be a mistake to turn away from this overwhelming sense of serenity, Alison knew what she must choose. She had to return to her body. Her children needed her.
Both these women confided their deeply personal stories after reading my 2012 book Proof Of Heaven, in which I detailed my own near-death experience.
What happened to me was different — but just as vividly recollected. I’d woken up at 4.30am with a splitting headache. As my then wife frantically tried to massage away the pain, it spread to my back. Within 15 minutes, the agony was so bad I could barely take a step.
I was taken to the hospital where I worked as a neurosurgeon. The doctors discovered I’d contracted a type of meningitis, and very soon the part of the brain that controls thought and emotion shut down as the bacteria ate away at my brain.
After being placed on a ventilator, a light came slowly down from above, throwing off marvellous filaments of living silver and golden effulgence.
It was a circular entity, emitting heavenly music that I called the Spinning Melody. The light opened up like a rip, and I felt myself going through the rip, up into a valley full of lush and fertile greenery, where waterfalls flowed into crystal pools.
There were clouds, like marshmallow puffs of pink and white. Behind them, the sky was a rich blue-black, with trees, fields, animals and people. There was water, too, flowing in rivers or descending as rain. Mists rose from the pulsing surfaces of these waters, and fish glided beneath them.
More than half of people who have near-death experiences are astonished by their highly intense perceptions. It is as if reality has become more real, and yet none of it is as truly real as their memories of the afterlife
More than half of people who have near-death experiences are astonished by their highly intense perceptions. It is as if reality has become more real, and yet none of it is as truly real as their memories of the afterlife
Sceptics would say that, because of the many differences in our accounts, we must all be wrong. But as a scientist, a neurosurgeon and an academic who taught brain science at Harvard Medical School, I am fascinated to know how we all perceived these versions of the hereafter — so vivid in the memory but so difficult to describe.
The evidence for near-death experiences is overwhelming. But the evidence for how they occur is virtually non-existent.
How were our minds conscious when our bodies were effectively dead and, in my case at least, the brain had ceased to function? And where are these bright, unfading memories stored?
To explore these questions takes courage and a thirst for knowledge. In the nine years since I first awoke from my coma, my mantra has been ‘believe in it all, at least for now’.
My advice to you, dear reader, is to do the same: suspend disbelief for now, and open your mind as broadly as possible.
I was in a coma for a week, suffering from meningoencephalitis — a brain infection — of such severity that my odds of survival were estimated at 2 per cent. After a week, my doctors gravely told my family that it was time to let me die. Hearing this, my ten-year-old son ran into the room, pulled open my eyelids and started pleading with me.
‘Daddy,’ he cried, over and over again, ‘you’re gonna be OK.’
Across the vast reaches of the spiritual realm, I felt his presence very clearly . . . and began to wake.
Physicist Albert Einstein would sometimes drift in a small sailing boat, staring into the sky as his imagination wandered, and new possibilities for explaining reality came to him. Pictured: The light at the end of the tunnel 
In the early weeks of recovery after my coma, I experienced a constant crackling energy, a hyper-sense of life itself — a sizzling body sensation.
Just two days after I came round, my older son, who was majoring in neuroscience at college, saw me and was struck by this intense energy.
‘You are so clear, so focused, so much more present than ever before,’ he said. ‘It is as if there is a light shining within you.’
Bizarre phenomena happened all around me. Street lights would blink as I walked beneath them. My laptop seemed prone to crashing. I went through three wristwatches before I found one that would work. And I had great difficulty sleeping, though this turned out to be a blessing because it granted me the time I needed to read, study and reflect on what had happened.
The shift in my perceptions brought difficulties, too. Studies show around 80 per cent of marriages break up after one partner has a near-death experience. For my then wife and me, it became clear that our life together was not meant to last for ever.
Our marriage had been struggling in the years before my coma, and my significant change brought us to an amicable parting.
My newly awakened energy sometimes seemed out of control, though it also never harmed me. While I was writing Proof Of Heaven, a massive branch tore itself away from the oak tree outside my study window and landed parallel to one outside wall.
No sooner had my sons and I sawed it up for firewood, baffled as to why a healthy tree should lose a limb, than another giant branch fell — this time along the adjoining wall of the house, at a 90-degree angle to the first.
That alarmed me so much that I called a tree surgeon . . . only to be told the tree was in fine condition, with no rot or insect damage.
There was no good reason why those branches fell. It was as if some giant hand had snapped them off. But one thing was certain: if either one had hit the house, it would have smashed down to the foundations.
Little wonder that, around this time, one friend told me: ‘You are sitting on a maelstrom of energy!’
Just as my senses were heightened, so were my memories — at least those rooted in my near-death experience.
This is common: more than half of people who have near-death experiences are astonished by their highly intense perceptions. It is as if reality has become more real, and yet none of it is as truly real as their memories of the afterlife.
In order to bring this whirling energy under control, I began to explore other ways to understand the brain than the merely medical.
In the Eighties, I discovered, the Dalai Lama — the Buddhist spiritual leader and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize — began working with Western doctors to combine everything that science, mysticism and religion can teach us about the mind. He calls this ‘contemplative neuroscience’.
For me, one of the most effective Buddhist practices is a form of meditation called mindfulness.
I find I can accomplish it by placing all my attention on whatever activity is taking place, whether it is walking, sitting quietly or just drinking a cup of coffee.
Mindfulness involves the constant awareness of the breath and the body, to move the mind’s attention away from negative or distressing thoughts.
As my attention remains focused only on the present moment, my mind eventually becomes free of all other distractions.
Looking back, I realise I did this instinctively when I was practising neurosurgery. I saw the operating theatre as a sanctuary where I could focus exclusively on my task. Time appeared to contract in this state, and a procedure that lasted hours might seem to be over in a matter of minutes.
By getting the brain ‘out of the way’, we can explore the world of universal consciousness.
Many of the world’s greatest geniuses have understood this, and achieved it in individual ways.
Physicist Albert Einstein would sometimes drift in a small sailing boat, staring into the sky as his imagination wandered, and new possibilities for explaining reality came to him.
Inventor Thomas Edison learned to work for days on little sleep. He would sit, with weights in his hands, and when he began to nod off, the weights would fall . . . waking him up. At these moments, between sleep and wake, some of his most brilliant ideas would come to him, and he would be ready to write them down.
The novelist Robert Louis Stevenson used another technique, travelling to the edge of dreams to harvest ideas for his stories.
All of these men were active participants in the pursuit of inspiration through free-form daydreaming, a level of awareness known as hypnagogia — the borderline of sleep.
Meditators, prophets and mystics have done this since the dawn of time. Perhaps this receptive state of being is the ultimate foundation of all our great religions. After reading my book Proof Of Heaven, the Dalai Lama invited me to join him to discuss modern scientific views on reincarnation.
He said there were three sorts of phenomena. The first was the most obvious — events that we perceive with our ordinary five senses.
The second was more subtle: hidden phenomena which go unobserved but which can be deduced from other evidence.
The third was the most tantalising — hidden phenomena, which can only be experienced personally, such as a dream, a secret wish, or a near-death experience.
These can be told but they might not be believed.
Unless you’ve had such an experience yourself, you can’t know with certainty that it took place, and so cannot investigate it using conventional scientific methods.
But first-hand experiences are vital to our understanding. We have to trust the experiences of others while cultivating our own, so that we can compare them.
And that’s what I, as a scientist, am most interested in. Mysteries are around every corner — we just need to learn to pay attention.
  • Adapted from Living In A Mindful Universe by Dr Eben Alexander and Karen Newell, published by Piatkus Books at £14.99. To order a copy for £11.99 (20 pc discount, valid until December 16), go to www.mail shop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640. P&p free on orders over £15 

Astrid Brown (Author)
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I am often asked various questions pertaining to the spirit world and various aspects of the psychic, here are some of them: I will in time feature more questions and answers as this webpage evolves

Q. Is a psychic or medium a fortune teller?
A. It may surprise you to know psychics and mediums are not fortune tellers
Q. Is it possible to forecast the future?
A.Well not 100% and this is because of free will.
Q. What is free will?
A. Free will is YOUR right to decide what you want to do about a situation, it is a choice
Q. How does free will affect a situation?
A. Well before we incarnate as Spirit in a human body, we decide on what experiences and challenges that will benefit our spiritual growth. However we are given the choice (free will) as to whether we go through with the experience or challenge. In effect we are allowed to change or mind.
Q. So are you saying we all know what lies before us?
A. Well in a way we all do. Remember we are 'Spirit' in a human body and your spirit does retain a memory but it is deep in our subconscious. This memory is retained deeply for a reason to help us fulfill our experiences and challenges we ourselves chose. However it is also at this deep level so we are not so aware. If you knew what lay before you would you go through with it? Probably not but we still retain this memory deeply and this reflects in our Aura.
Q. So what is the Aura?
A.The aura is The Aura is an electromagnetic field that surrounds living bodies, this includes people, animals, plants and crystals and is composed of several layers that are constantly moving. The Aura links us to whats known as Universal energy i.e. that is all the knowledge in the Universe past, present and future. It is on this aura that psychics are able to tap into and access your past, whats going on in the present and the possible future and I say possible specifically if your goal or desire is dependent on other people, for remember every person involved in a situation has free will.


Astrid Brown (Author)
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