Note: While I intended this site to offer conversational, casual text, when writing this section much of what got on paper came straight from Ascended Master Djehuty, a.k.a. Thoth, St. Germain, Merlin, and Hermes.

“Orientation” is my term, while others use “going into the light,” “crossing over” and other phrases. I use orientation because it is more akin to showing up at a new school and needing to be shown the ropes than it is a permanent, finalized transition into a new realm. The initial step into this phase of existence for human consciousness after death can involve light, which is a reflection of love: The gathered loved ones, ancestors, and guides that congregate to welcome a spirit and invite it to transition invariably vibrate love strongly, and this can appear as light to the newly separated human consciousness. And there does seem to many to be a definitive boundary line between life on Earth and the other realm, though after a human learns to work with spirits in various stages of transition after death, the line can seem less definitive.

The goal of orientation is to support the person’s departed spirit in releasing attachments to his or her human existence. This can include a number of topics, which can be interwoven or entwined during the orientation process:

  1. Transitioning out of physicality
  2. Releasing attachments to Earthly outcomes
  3. The intentions his or her soul set out for that human life
  4. The soul-level purpose of major choices during that human life
  5. The soul-level agreements his or her soul had with other humans during that life
  6. Releasing judgment of self and other regarding choices their human selves made during life together
  7. Acknowledging and surrendering guilt, shame, resentment, anger, and more toward self and other regrading how as humans they treated each other

1. Transitioning Out of Physicality

Many humans identify as their bodies. It’s natural, after all: The body is with a person all throughout human life, and it changes as we age. A person’s abilities change over time often in direct relationship with the aging process. The body is, therefore, a major issue for many spirits after death.

As more people have been living longer lives, the nature of age-related degeneration has become a focus a great many more people than perhaps at other times in recent human history. Families and societies are being forced to rethink certain issues and processes that affect the aged. Since longer life can include more health issues, there is a great number of spirits for whom the death of the physical body is a welcome relief. As one example, my grandmother’s spirit came to say goodbye to me shortly after her physical death, and she told me she was free. She had lived with and deteriorated from Alzheimer’s Disease for a number of years, a few years before her death no longer being herself. Her spirit was light and airy, and she was rushing off to her next phase after saying goodbye.

But not all humans who die are aged and living with severe health issues. Those who die younger might not be as ready psychologically and emotionally to release the ways they may have identified with their physical bodies while living. After all, people are pretty into all kinds of pleasure-seeking behaviors, which are naturally part of being human. The more a person identifies with the physical body, these behaviors can seem to be what life is all about. I’m not talking about people who overdo things, take physical pleasure too far, experience addictions, or otherwise have imbalanced relationships with the physical world and what it has to offer. I’m talking about all humans who find enjoyable ways to experience being in their bodies during life.

2. Releasing Attachment to Earthly Outcomes

We might call some of these egoic attachments, but that is not meant to indict humans for experiencing human life through the lens of ego. Many people want the best for their loved ones, while some of them believe their presence or input (or controlling behaviors) are necessary ingredients if their loved ones are to succeed, find or maintain loving relationships, not hurt themselves, prosper and more.

Some examples: A newly deceased parent might worry about his living children not getting along or arguing over the will or disposition of assets. A newly deceased spouse might not be ready to let go of the dreams he or she had with the living surviving spouse. A loving but controlling person could hang around to ensure that his or her family members not do things outside his or her expectations or fritter away an inheritance.

The truth is that even as grieving the departed loved one can take time, mostly the living mostly move on. They adjust to life without the late loved one, painful as it can be, and they’re supposed to: We grow when loved ones come into our lives, and we grow when they leave, even through death. Ideally, we learn more about ourselves, what we need, and what we want out of life after a loved one passes.

The spirit during orientation learns to respect the journeys of the living – and to release them to their own futures.

3. Learning the Soul’s Intentions

As humans, we often find it difficult to understand why we experience life the way we do. A person during life might wonder about why he or she is wired the way he or she is, or why the family of origin is the way it is. During orientation, spirits learn about the soul-level intentions that, before birth, defined some of the parameters of the human life now completed.

All of these serve the soul’s learning journey while human. They include genes, conditioning from the family of all kinds, physical or developmental issues, and everything else that played such an important part of the human life but that most humans don’t expect to get real answers to if they were to ask.

There are also major events that come to and unfold around a person during human life, including abuse, war, adoption or being given up at birth, abandonment, betrayal, major illness and injury, fleeing danger as a refugee or otherwise displaced, slavery, rape, and more. The nature of such events can inspire a human to close down to feeling safe, opening to love, and receiving support, and so must be confronted with open eyes during the orientation process.

There isn’t a major facet of a person’s genetic, psychological, and emotional make up that doesn’t fit with his or her soul’s intentions for learning during life. This is not to say that it is all destined or that a person is ruled by fate, but that there are particular variables that serve as parameters and guideposts for the human to work within as the soul learns what it embodies to learn.

As one example, a soul might set out for its human life an important learning about growing into the confidence to stand up for the self, perhaps to dig deep to find the courage to be self-directed and confident. The soul would set out for the person through soul-level agreements (explained below) certain kinds of stressors and stimulation to nudge, push, or pull the person into that growth. Sounds great, right? It’s actually a sterile way of saying that the person might be bullied, taken advantage of, cheated, or even abused as ways to stir him or her into standing up for the self and developing self-confidence. The effects of any of these stressors can run deep and shape the person’s idea of who he or she is, and it is in orientation that the soul-level intention to learn self-confidence is explained so the spirit can release the debris that’s still carried from those or other painful experiences.

4. Understanding the Soul-level Purpose of Major Choices

Aside confronting family of origin and what some call accidents of birth, orientation for a departed spirit also includes confronting and learning about the higher-level purposes of major decisions the person made during life. There isn’t a human life that doesn’t contain at least some choices that the egoic self wouldn’t be drawn to judge.

While a person’s friends and loved ones – or the person him- or herself in retrospect – might be able to rationalize why particular choices were made, it’s true that many of us feel at times in life that we don’t really have a variety of options and we make choices of which we might not be proud. Guilt, shame, regret, self-doubt, and other fear-based debris can become imprinted through making such choices, even if we truly have no options but to make the unhappy choice.

Whether explicitly taught through religious or other morality based systems, or implicitly assumed because it seems to make sense, we might believe that difficulty and pain in our lives is an indication that we’re doing something wrong or that we’re bad people. If this sounds simplistic to you as you read it, trust me that it is so prevalent in human life that it’s almost comical. My work as a spiritual counselor and intuitive routinely reveals that the source of blocks to love in a person are rooted in judgements about his or her past and present choices.

We tell ourselves and each other that we do the best in a given situation with what we have to work with, and this is true on the whole. But it doesn’t stop a person from judging the self if her choice hurt someone else, wasted a significant amount of her time and money, or made life harder for those she loves. It won’t stop her from feeling guilty if a loved one gets injured when she wasn’t paying attention, and it won’t stop her from feeling ashamed as she retreats into an escapist behavior that ultimately becomes an addiction.

During orientation, each of these situations is reframed for the spirit by the guidance team so that he or she can understand how each of those major choices contributed to the learning journey – and, therefore, growth – of the soul. This is where what I call the two layers of interpretation come in: The first layer is what happened, how I felt about it, how it impacted me and may still be impacting me now. The second layer is why it happened from the soul’s perspective and what higher purpose that experience served for its learning journey.

Remember the idea that if we’re experiencing pain or hardship, we must be doing something wrong, or it must be our fault? Orientation offers the spirit the opportunity to process some of that first layer while adding the second layer of interpretation to the story. Since the point of a soul becoming embodied as a human is to learn all of what that does and can mean, over the course of many lifetimes all kinds of experiences are required for the learning journey of the soul. This includes painful, difficult, rock-and-hard-place-type, and nobody-wins kinds of experiences. The pain and negativity of various things in life is what the human mind and personality ascribe meaning to, and this is normal as mind’s job is to protect us from making mistakes so we can avoid pain, guilt, shame, etc. The mind stays on the lookout in the world around the person both for signs of repeats of past wounding and signs that details that lead to past hurts might be recurring now. In this way, the human mind is a watchdog, always on alert, always looking out for danger.

But assigning blame as the mind does isn’t in line with the nature of soul as loving, accepting, and compassionate. So, during orientation, all judgments about personal choices during life are examined thoughtfully and thoroughly so that the individual spirit can see empowered ways to begin to let go of the debris of self-judgment, guilt, shame, regret, etc.

5. Learning About Soul-Level Relationship Agreements

As each of a person’s important experiences and choices serve the journey of his or her soul learning to be human, so do his or her important relationships. Each soul needs others souls in order to learn about the self while human (remember that the desire to interact with apparently separate beings is the primary motivation to become embodied in the first place), and each soul is willing to do for others souls while human whatever it takes for them to learn. There is a nobility in this loving intention, yet the human realities can at times, frankly, suck.

During orientation, a spirit is shown the purposes of his or her important relationships during life. This begins with family of origin and those who had a hand in raising the person (including adoptive families) and extends to important friendships and love relationships. The spirit is taught the specifics from his or her life of the truth that the ways that others do and don’t treat us reflect the learning journey that we are living out, based in the soul’s intentions.

The departed will learn about why from the soul’s point of view abuse, lies, betrayal, abandonment, and more happened. He or she will see the higher purpose for neglect and rigid rules that kept him or her from feeling free to live life on his or her terms. He or she will learn why it was important that someone tried or seemed to want to control him or her, or cheated with another person, or stole from him or her – anything that caused pain and lasting emotional, physical, and psychological damage to him or her.

He or she is also shown that how he or she treated others fits within the same divine scheme. It will be made obvious to the spirit that while he or she might judge the self for certain choices and responses that affected others in important, even life-changing ways, those choices and responses stirred the learning journey of the other human on his or her own soul’s path. The spirit will learn the bigger picture of each of these relationships so it can let go of anger, grudges, resentment, the resistance to forgive, and all other blocks to opening to and running loving energy.

The template for every human life is based on the soul’s intentions to learn while embodied how to go from fear into love. This is about self-validation and self-care when others don’t, can’t, or won’t validate and care for your human self. As the true nature of a soul is being loving, accepting, and compassionate, the more a person can get into those modes while overcoming any and all kinds of debris and resistance to love, the better. But the soul knows that it is inevitable that its human selves in many lifetimes will accrue the knots, blocks, and bruises normal to living as a human and experiencing all kinds of difficult and painful scenarios and relationships. In other words, your human life is intended by your soul to be an exercise in going through a wide variety of experiences (both happy and unhappy) while learning to make choices from loving, accepting, compassionate motivations.

As the spirit’s orientation/guidance team includes departed loved ones who have gone through the process, there’s a lot of reflection and sharing that goes on to help the newly departed adapt to these new perspectives. A loved one teaching him or her about the point of his or her human relationships from the souls’ vantage point can use their relationship as an example. And since family relationships have the potential to be the most fraught and tense of all human connections, working together in orientation (after the guiding spirit has already let go of all the human stuff) is a significant help to the spirit going through the process.

6. Releasing Judgment of Self and Other

Ultimately, the goal is that the spirit accepts the life and love lessons inspired by those human relationships, especially the difficult ones, and releases attachments to being right or wrong. This includes identities formed and solidified when either feeling or being a victim or perpetrator of negative situations in important relationships. Judgment of self and other is a primary motivation a spirit can carry that would keep him or her from embracing a higher perspective and opening to running and connecting with more loving energy.

There’s no timeline for this to happen. Again, there’s no time from the perspective of spirits who have gone through the orientation process, but those who are still tied to Earthly outcomes can keep a foot in the time-space door, so to speak. As explained in the section above on releasing attachments to what’s happening on Earth, the spirit might feel a need to visit a loved one he or she perceives has suffered because of the relationship or the spirit’s choices while human. Or he or she might visit someone who hurt him or her, perhaps wanting to find out if that person can in truth be viewed through the lens that the orientation team is suggesting.

Regardless of how long this takes, there’s no pressure from the team on the spirit to change. Soul-level agreements are explained, old narratives rewritten, and family and relationship histories expanded to include the highest perspectives. It’s fine if the spirit doesn’t adjust right away, and it is fairly common for a spirit to have a problem with one relationship or past choice, a particularly messy human interaction or situation that takes some time to give up resistance to releasing. Everything unfolds as it needs to, even if the spirit takes what from Earth’s perspective is a very long time to adjust. In the end, everyone will get to this place of release, and the orientation process is designed to provide a space for each individual to do and go through whatever it takes in order to release what might serve to hold him or her back from moving forward.

A human’s judgment of self and other serves various purposes. First, to protect the self from potential dangers. Second, to protect the self from others bringing harm. Third, to protect the self from making bad choices that will cause harm to self and other. It’s possible for a human to build walls and shields toward the outside world and others every time a major hurtful scenario takes place. It is true that painful experiences when a child can have a person doing so more, as when a child he or she needed to feel safe and protected and didn’t. Also, any experience that involves either trauma or long-term, chronic stress can inspire a person to build such walls and barriers to protect the self. The process of unwinding and relaxing these protective measures varies between individuals, and it takes as much time and attention for each spirit as it does.

7. Acknowledging and Surrendering the Most Difficult, Divisive Emotions and Beliefs

Wrapped up with all of the above is the need to confront the worst of what the spirit felt while human. Beyond judgment of self and other, beliefs of all kinds run deep. As the spirit learns to unwind beliefs about his or her relationships and choices during life, he or she also gets lead through a process that teaches that everything he or she thought was true about life was only part of the story.

This is about elevating the level of awareness of the spirit to get it closer to that of soul. All of what you have read in this section on orientation contributes to this. At some point in the process of going through the life history, relationships, choices, etc., a tipping point is reached. The spirit encounters the need to break through a particular block or deep-seated resistance to letting go. It is in working with the guidance team on the principles it is sharing with the spirit that one situation or choice feels harder to move through than others.

This would be a life-defining event, whether it happened to or around the person or resulted from an important choice he or she made. As the spirit processes what he or she is learning, it’s inevitable that some pain, fear, regret, etc., that has been more deeply held than other emotions will be triggered. The spirit has learned that the orientation process will continue until all such blocks are released (so he or she can open fully to loving frequencies and, thereby, be ready to move on to his or her next phase), but that one issue can at first seem too much to work through. This can be true even if he or she processed through smaller, less important issues quickly and without issue.

Again, time is not a factor, and the release happens when it does. At that point, the spirit learns more about his or her true nature, as there can be a flood of loving energy that reaches him or her. The truth is that it was there all along, but his or her resistance to it (by hanging onto pain, anger, resentment, guilt, shame, etc. due to identifying as someone who was hurt or bad) was keeping it from washing over and through him or her. Once this happens and the spirit is no longer attached to his or her human judgments, fears, etc., orientation is complete. The departed consciousness is ready to move on to the next phase of its existence, now newly reconnected to the wisdom and understanding of his or her soul.

What Happens After Orientation
A spirit may become a guide for other loved ones, whether available to them as they live on Earth or in the orientation phase (many do both, but there can be exceptions). He or she may also begin other human lives to further the learning journey, though completing orientation is not necessary for a soul to be born into another human body.

Keep reading: How a Soul Understand Suicide

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