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Reverend Laurie Sue Brockway, The Romance Reverend

Soulful Love
January 2002

by Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway

Every month, our Soulful Singles "Romance Reverend" shares her sage insights on relationships and getting ready for soulful love!  Send your questions to RomanceRev@SoulfulLiving.com.

The Romance Reverendís Interview with Famous "Ghost Hunter" Hans Holzer

Do I hear him knocking Ö from the other side?

Dear Romance Reverend,

My "ex" passed away suddenly a while ago. I had not seen him for a long time, and we had very little connection to each other in recent years, but I find I somehow feel more connected to him in death. I was so mad at him when we broke up. I feel sorry now for certain things. I think the grief has caught up with me. At first I felt numb. Now, I swear he is talking to me -- from the other side. How can I tell the difference between a ghost and a kindly spirit trying to commune with me? Please help.

-- Gina, New York, NY

*  *  *  *  *  *

Dear Gina,

I am sorry to hear of your loss, but glad to know you recognize your grief. Whether he was your love two years ago or 20, loss of someone you once cared for can impact you in a number of ways. Before we look into the spiritual realm, lets consider the emotional.

Some of the symptoms of grief include denial, yearning, disbelief, anger, confusion, shock, despair, sadness, and guilt. There can be a general sense of feeling "crazed" as well as sudden spurts of tears, sometimes followed by what may seem to be inappropriate laughter. These feelings can zing you out of nowhere Ė while watching TV, driving, thinking, working, or even on a date with someone else. Please know that it is natural to go through these emotions. Take note of the emotional states you experience and honor the feelings. That will help you stay grounded. And make sure you do something for yourself. In my work as a volunteer chaplain with the Red Cross to help with disaster relief in New York, one question we always ask grieving relatives is: What are you doing to take care of yourself? In the craziness of unexpected loss, we sometime forget that it can take time to absorb the impact of the loss, to process it, and to grieve.

In the case where a relationship was over, there may be things left unsaid. This may be true for any relationship when someone dies suddenly but itís particularly tricky if youíve not had contact with the person for a while. Before we seek our answers on "the other side," it is wise to look first at the hungry ghosts of the past and how they call to us emotionally to resolve old issues. Sometimes, when we sense a lost loved one reaching out a hand to turn back the hands of time, it is actually our own soul seeking resolution and hoping for forgiveness Ė to be forgiven and be able to forgive. Explore, over time, what was left unsaid to your ex, or if there are specific issues you are grieving, in addition to grieving the loss of the person. Did the relationship end on a sad note? Were you angry at each other? Had you forgiven one another? Tell yourself the truth -- that is the only way to heal it. And please seek counseling support for the rough spots. The death of an ex can bring you back to a point in personal history that was difficult for you and it helps to have someone to share the feelings with.

If you own up to what is unresolved and seek to resolve it in your heart and soul, you can come to a place of completion with the person you lost. But first you must feel your anger, frustration, rage if that is whatís there for you; feel your sadness, despair, helplessness. Feel whatever feelings are there. If you are numb, just stay present with the numbness. Numbness is often your defense against pain and will give way to the feelings underneath eventually, if you allow it. Once you have grieved fully, you will, be in a better position to have closure with the relationship. Hopefully, you will find that, when it comes down to it, love is the most important thing. Perhaps you will choose to remember that love, beyond all else.

I think it most important to deal with the emotionality of loss before searching for meaning only in the spiritual realm. However, I would never negate your experience and I encourage you to explore the spiritual piece as well. I do believe that a person with a heart that is open will sometimes hear a message or get a loving tap from someone who has passed on.

I personally believe that the soul continues to do its work on "the other side," and that lost loved ones continue to heal and evolve after death. If you are "on-line" to do some healing work related to an ex, it is very likely that spirit will give you a great assist in the process. Often times, a lost loved one will often help the process along Ė from "heaven" if you will. More than anything, they are trying to assist you in letting go of the past pains they may have contributed in your life and they want to help liberate you -- not haunt you. The human mind is very good at haunting itself with agonies of the past!

Hereís what you can do to engage in loving communion: Create a memory altar with a picture of your ex and something that belonged to him or that he gave you. As part of your grieving process, sit and visit with him at the altar every day. Cry. Remember. Talk to the picture of the lost loved one as if he is sitting there. If he is communicating from the other side, you may find messages from him in the form of pleasant surprises or signals. Just pay attention to life. Be mindful and stay present Ė and do not read too much into them. Donít force communication, just communicate what you need to say. People who have died will communicate what is important for completion of a relationship. You may sense their presence strongly and then, suddenly, they seem to have moved on. Honor the natural process.

For more insights on this topic, and in hopes of bringing light to your question about ghosts, I share with you excerpts from a fascinating interview I did with famous "ghost hunter" Hans Holzer in 1999. This world-renowned parapsychologist shared his findings on things that go bump in the night and other phenomenon.

© Copyright Reverend Laurie Sue Brockway  All Rights Reserved. 

The Romance Reverendís Fascinating Interview with
Famous "Ghost Hunter" Hans Holzer

Dr. Hans Holzer's experiences with things that go bump in the night and the expansive nature of spirit friends transcend popular images of Casper and Halloween haunting. In fact, he speaks of ghosts and other spirit entities as if they are real people, like you and I, who are simply headed for or living in a different dimension. With the worldís most noted counselor to the disembodied spirits, sitting around telling ghost stories takes on new meaning. "Iím a scientist and this does not mean to know, it means to quest for knowledge," he clarifies. "Itís never finite. It always keeps changing and moving and you learn new things. But you do have to have standards. And scientific standards preclude me from accepting some of these fantasies."

"The other side tends to confirm what most religions teach," says Holzer. "If it werenít for the facts of parapsychology, religion wouldnít have a leg to stand on. Religion takes some of the evidence, which we know in parapsychology, and uses it for its own end--to distort the truth, to get people to obey. Iím not against organized religion, but spirituality is not religious; spirituality is a way of life. You donít need intermediaries for that."

Rev. Laurie Sue: Do you believe in ghosts?

Hans Holzer: I donít believe in anything. Belief is the uncritical acceptance of something you canít prove. I work on evidence; I either know or I donít know. There are three dirty words in my vocabulary: belief, disbelief and supernatural. They donít exist. Thereís no "supernatural world." Everything that exists is natural.

Yet there is a dimension of existence that is as real as your living room, even if the average person cannot access it with all their senses?

I coined the phrase "the other side" because it really is the other side, like one side of the mirror. The spirit world, or "the world next door," as Eileen Garrett called it, is not up or down. It is here, moving at a different rate of speed. And the dimension into which we all pass--except ghosts, because they canít get into it until they are liberated from their compulsions--is concentric with this dimension. It exists in the same special area, but because itís strung out further, it does not clash with the thicker atmosphere, the thicker dimension, in which we exist.

Whatís "the other side" like?

Everything we have here they have over there. This is a duplicate of this world except over there the purpose is to develop the personality from the negative to the positive, or to give them assignments or to send them down for some more education.

What is the difference between a ghost and a spirit?

We are all spirit. When we pass on, we simply get rid of the outer layer and, underneath, there really is a duplicate layer. This inner body--like an inner tube of a tire--is where our personality resides. At death the physical body is worn out and dissolved, so the inner body is where we live. So we need to have an atmosphere, a dimension, that fits this inner body and thatís the world of spirit, or the etheric world. The etheric world is all around us. At death, we ride out into that world and we are right there. Thatís our normal transition. However, once in a while something goes wrong when somebody passes from the physical state.

What turns them into a ghost?

The death is not smooth. When there is trauma--an unacceptable accident or shock or surprise-- this will, in some cases, cause the personality to go into a state of psychotic shock. In that state of shock they are not aware that theyíve passed on. They are confused as to their real status, because they can see everybody and no body seems to be able to see them. Thatís what a ghost is...somebody whoís gotten stuck in the physical world but is not part of the physical world. And they become panic stricken for attention and eventually they do things to get attention, like moving objects, creating noises. This is not to frighten people, theyíre just attention getters.

But not everything that goes bump in the night is a ghost.

Itís the exception, rather than the normal transition. I have found that about 75 to 80 percent of the sightings or auditory phenomena are not really people stuck in our atmosphere, but replays from the past. Like an imprint on the atmosphere. Itís a psychic imprint; an imprint on the atmosphere, which is energy like a television picture that is stuck in time. To the average person it looks exactly the same as a ghost. Even some mediums canít tell the difference. But if phenomena are observed exactly alike at the same time in the same place and a number of witnesses have reported identical experiences, then you probably have an imprint. If, from different witnesses, you have reports saying thereís a variation in what the ghost entity is doing, then itís a real person. Thatís the only way you can tell one from the other.

How are they different from ghosts who crave attention?

The ghost personality is generally in various stages of psychotic condition--otherwise they would move on. The stay behind is someone who lived in one place for a very long time, and usually dies a gentle death; they just fall asleep, no violence, no pain. They are unused to any other place, partially because their religious belief has primed them to believe Hosanna with angels wings on their back, or in some cases, fellows in red underwear with pitch forks, would take them away. Low and behold, at death, theyíre still where they were before. The physical body isnít there--but thereís a body and they see themselves, so they stay put. Thatís why people go to the funeral of Aunt Minnie, come back and there she is in her usual chair.

You made a distinction between a ghost and a spirit. Is there a distinction between a spirit and a soul?

No. The soul is the spirit. The soul is the personality. The soul is energy that manifests through and resides in an etheric body. This energy field, which is us, is what the church calls the soul and what the spiritually inclined people call the spirit.

Popular culture has offered a few glimpses into the other side. In the movie "Ghost" we saw a spirit shocked out of his skin, yet determined to finish some business. An accurate portrayal?

Everything was correct except for that last scene--which is Hollywood--where the furies come and get the bad guy. It doesnít work that way. There are no furies, there is no hell. There is only that which you bring with you to the other side. But movies are fantasy. This is real.

So we do bring our baggage with us at death?

When you pass on you take your memories with you. And if your life has been negative or a destructive one, you will have to go to school, so to speak, and the next time around you will have a chance to confront some of those issues again. Thatís the whole idea behind reincarnation. I did a lot of work on reincarnation for Life Beyond (Contemporary Books). I have no doubts whatsoever it exists for everybody.

Yet in between gigs in human form, can our beloved relatives communicate from the other side without being ghosts?

Itís very common. Unfortunately, our culture teaches people that it is not possible, there is nothing out there, yet when somebody passes on, the first thing when they arrive on the other side is they want to let their loved ones know that they are still alive and that they are well and they are happy being with other loved ones. There is touching and cases where they feel the person. Yes. Oh, all of this is very possible.

For More Information:

Everything you need to know about ghosts but were afraid to ask:

GHOSTS: True Encounters With The World Beyond, by Hans Holzer, (Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 1998)

Hans Holzerís Travel Guide To Haunted Houses: A Practical Guide To Places Haunted by ghosts, poltergeists and spirits (Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 1998)

© Copyright Reverend Laurie Sue Brockway  All Rights Reserved. 

What would you like to say to an ex that would help you
move on and clear the path for new love?


Read Reverend Laurie Sue's Current Column


Read Reverend Laurie Sue's Past Columns:

December 2001 - "How Do We Make Our Love Dreams Come True?"

November 2001 - "What is the Future of Love?"

October 2001 - "Getting to Know 'Lakshmi' the Goddess of Good Fortune"

September 2001 - "Can't Hurry Love... It Will Happen in Its Right Moment"

August 2001 - "Family Rituals Help Us Grow Into Loving Beings"

July 2001 - "Dreams Warn Itís Time To Own Your Power"

June 2001 - "A Fun Visual of Your Favorite Romance"

May 2001 - "Someday Your Mystical Soul Mate Will Come"

April 2001 - "Enjoy the Merriment and Fun of An Ancient Love Holiday"

March 2001 - "Nourish Yourself On a Date for One"

February 2001 - "Get Ready for Soulful Love"

Reverend Laurie Sue Brockway is an author, teacher and contemporary clergy person who specializes in matters of the heart and soul. As an ordained interfaith minister and non-denominational wedding officiant, it is her honor to regularly marry couples in love.

Prior to becoming a minister she enjoyed a successful and colorful 20 years in media as a widely published journalist, editor and author of several books on relationships and romanceóas well as being a noted spokesperson on those topics. She was editor-in-chief of two national magazines and several regional publications, and her articles have been published around the world and in many newspapers and national magazines, such as the NY Daily News, The Washington Post, Womenís News, New Woman, Ladiesí Home Journal and Child. She evolved years of specialized reporting in the field of male-female relationship dynamics into a more spiritual pursuit that led her to train to be an interfaith minister, and then establish her wedding ministry along with a number of popular relationship enhancement programs. Her wedding ministry is based in New York.

She is also dedicated to bringing about a deeper awareness and understanding of the Divine Feminine. As a graduate of The New Seminary in NYC, the worldís premier seminary for interfaith ministers, she was educated and trained in the tenants, spiritual practice and worship of many faiths. She became a specialist in the feminine aspects of God in all the worldís religions. Today, she is widely recognized as a minister, teacher and scribe specializing in womenís spirituality and The Divine Feminine from an interfaith and all-inclusive perspective. She is on the board of directors of World Light Fellowship, heading up their Feminine Faces of God programs, and is Founder of Our Motherís House, a cyber ministry at www.OurMothersHouse.org.

Long devoted to helping women access the "Goddess Within," she is currently working on two books that bring the wisdom of ancient archetypes to modern women. Her newest book, A Goddess Is a Girlís Best Friend, is due out in Fall 2002.

To be placed on a mailing list for information about A Goddess Is A Girlís Best Friend: OurMothersHouse@aol.com


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