Archive for February, 2011
I was asked to review Sylvia Browne’s new book, Afterlives of the Rich and Famous, in exchange for a free copy, which I was happy to do! I recently finished reading a couple of books on a similar topic, one of which Browne also wrote: Temples on the Other Side, an explanation of different spheres of activity and functions of spirits in the afterlife. After that, I read Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives by Michael Newton, Ph.D., which describes interviews under hypnosis in which subjects recalled their past lives and their existence in between them.
I just had to mention those before I went into my review, because I really enjoyed them both, and I think that reading them helped me to feel more “in touch” with an over-arching view of the afterlife, versus the very particular stories Browne tells, through her spirit guide, in Afterlives of the Rich and Famous.
Afterlives of the Rich and Famous is divided into 4 major sections: “Introduction” (which I mostly skipped since I’ve read several of her other books and knew most of what she covered there), “Death…and Then What” (a brief summary of the most pertinent information in Temples on the Other Side), “Glossary” (definition of terms the reader might be unfamiliar with from “astral travel” to “the waiting room”), and “Celebrities” (the largest and, most interesting, section of the book).
As usual, Browne did her homework before writing this book. Each celebrity she discusses is described through a brief overview of his/her life and death. Since I wasn’t really expecting that, I found it a bit off-putting, until I got to a celebrity that I wasn’t really familiar with, and then I was very grateful to have the information handy! After this overview, there is a section from Francine, Browne’s spirit guide, whom Browne channeled during recorded interviews. This section describes how the soul of the celebrity entered the afterlife and what they are doing now. A couple celebrities also had sections from Browne, describing how she had been involved with the spirit of the deceased prior to writing this book.
The celebrities Brown covers include Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, George Carlin, Rock Hudson, Heath Ledger, Grace Kelly, John Kennedy Jr., Walter Cronkite, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jackson, Princess Diana, George Harrison and many more! I was especially interested to read about George Carlin’s experience upon entering the afterlife, since he’d been so thoroughly anti-God in his lifetime. This is an excerpt from Francine’s description:
I wish you could have seen the look of shock on George’s face when he emerged from the tunnel and rediscovered that there really is life after death after all. And when he found his first wife, Brenda, waiting to greet him, he was stunned into a long silence while he held her, after which I’m told he gaped at the hundreds of spirits and animals who gathered for the reunion and said, “I’ll be damned.” George is an excellent example of the fact that atheists are embraced on the Other Side as surely as the most devoutly religious, and with his humor, self-honesty, and misguided but honorable intentions, he tried to live a godly lifetime, no matter what words he used to define it.
Once he spent time [reviewing his previous incarnations], all his memories came flooding back, not only of the life on the Other Side to which he’d just returned, but also of the life that preceded this most recent one — he was a black man in the mid-1800s, wrongly convicted of and executed for a murder he did not commit, the murder of a white woman, which, it was later learned, was actually committed by the presiding judge. It was understandable that George arrived angry and rebellious against “the system,” and it was brilliant of him to have charted a sense of humor that would allow him to express his outrage through the power of laughter… (pages 78-79)
It was very interesting to learn about the choices these souls had made about their life plans and the way they felt about how they did afterwards. It added to my understanding of just how little we can truly grasp about ourselves and our mission here on Earth while we are still experiencing it.
Of course, not all of the souls chose to go “through the tunnel” to the Other Side. Some remained Earth-bound for years, haunting their familiar places, until they were helped over to the Other Side, or else chose to go into what Browne calls “the Holding Place” – essentially what we know of as purgatory, where souls who chose to separate themselves from Love wait to reincarnate.
Reading Afterlives of the Rich and Famous helped me to realize in a new way just how much love, support and wisdom our souls and our spirit guides have to offer us (though we can always chose to deny it). It’s also wonderful to have example after example of souls learning deeply from their life experiences and, sometimes, choosing new spiritual careers afterward.
I was often moved to tears while reading this, and I am very grateful to Browne for writing it. Definitely recommended reading!