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Interesting post, Michael. Rainbow bridge from Norse mythology, perhaps? Yes, I have never heard that being described as "real."

It's a rather strange worldview for me to consider. I cannot imagine that a dog wiggling its tail for eternity, making new friends and pissing on everlasting lamposts.

The inspiration for the poem is generally acknowledged to come from an ancient Norse legend. Bifrost, the rainbow bridge was a bridge the gods used to travel to and from earth, and where worthy Norse warriors crossed to Valhalla.

The poem has been on the internet for many years with 'author unknown' although at least three people claim to have written it.

There is sufficient evidence through mediumship that animals, like humans, survive death.

Spiritualism may often be regarded as extinct but it seems to be alive and well.

But what exactly is the nature of that survival? I have a hard time thinking that by chance an entity is bound to be a dog for all eternity, whilst another an ant, whilst another a human being.

Its rather problematic, actually. I have not come a cross a metaphysical formulation that takes into account the nature of survival for other 'life forms'.

I think the higher animals retain identity after death. Individual human spirits are said to continue to evolve into higher and higher entities over the ages after they pass beyond the earth plane. Why should not animals do something similar. We tend to have an anthropocentric view of the universe. The path for the development of the human soul is not necessarily the only path or even the most important path.

"I have not come a cross a metaphysical formulation that takes into account the nature of survival for other 'life forms'."

See Alan Kardac's The Spirit's Book Chapter XI.

I've seen medium's describe certain spheres for pets.Dogs and Horses being the most common,but never a rainbow bridge.
When you cross compare that with other info such as humans frequenting different spheres,darkness to light to make it simple it wouldn't make much sense to suggest a "rainbow bridge" sphere for animals.

I'd say certain animals would have their own sphere of existence,that is if they're not in their own reincarnation cycle(what did you think only humans reincarnate?)

Speculative offcourse,but understanding the afterlife for us humans is already very hard,understanding it with a high degree of confidence for animals is quite harder.

Of course spiritualism is alive and well -- all the mediums in the world are practicing it.

It also influences a lot of modern OBE pracitioners. The influence is very strong in Brasil -- check out Waldo Vieira, who is not as well-known in English as he should be.

In his excellent OBE opus Astral Dynamics, Robert Bruce (who was also very influenced by spiritualist connections) mentions a level he reached in OBE which instantly reminded him of the legendary Rainbow Bridge.

The issue is that Im not persuaded that lifeforms of higher order express a mind so complex that it could engage in the kind of afterlife often envisioned. That is, one that arises from the coceptual, propositional, creative, imaginative, allegorical faculties that the human mind is known to exhibit.

If this is not the case, im not sure what the cause or substrate of any 'shared reality' afterlife would be for animals.

The very idea that there is a sphere for every specie seems convulted and I dont see if there is any kind of evidence that, prima facie, suggests that such division is in order.

Furthermore, even if one would grant that, how would the community of dog-minds elicit a somewhat objective (in relation to the subjects of experience, not as material objects per se) reality?

On the same line, bats probably dont 'see the light' for their surviving minds, were they to actually survive, would carry the habits of their batly life.. and I dont think they're very fond of light.

My position is based on the transmission theory: consciousness is fundamental in the universe, but consciousness could only manifest in the material sphere when began to emerge the first living creatures with nervous systems. So when more complex the nervous system, more individual and complex consciousness will manifest. Thus, all conscious beings would have a form of afterlife evolved toward greater complexity, individuality and personality.

There is only one mind, one consciousness, and we are each one of us a facet of that consciousness. We are all limited as to what we know. Our consciousness here on this earth, compared to the "higher mind", is like a drop of water compared to the ocean.

"My position is based on the transmission theory: consciousness is fundamental in the universe, but consciousness could only manifest in the material sphere when began to emerge the first living creatures with nervous systems. "

Are you saying consciousness manifesting in a living creature is a natural phenomena and is not mediated/organized/coordinated by intelligent entities?

If it is not a natural phenomena presumably it is mediated by advanced/intelligent beings. How did they develop?

I think there must have been a way for complex intelligences to develop in the absence of living creatures with nervous systems.

If you consider, for example, what NDE'ers say, it seems like incarnation is coordinated by advanced beings. NDE'rs are asked if they want to go back finish their life etc. It seems that there is some intelligent coordination involved in the process of an disembodied consciousness incarnating in a living creature (human being).

Maybe there is a natural way for intelligence to develop but why assume it is on the earth plane. It could be that in the spirit plane or at some higher level it developed naturally.

I would say that other animals also survive death like dog and cats etc. The question is how far does it go down too. Do ants and bees have souls?.

"I would say that other animals also survive death like dog and cats etc. The question is how far does it go down too. Do ants and bees have souls?." - Leo

There's not really "souls" - only "soul." One consciousness. We here in the physical universe can't begin to comprehend or understand the feelings of oneness and connectedness in heaven. All connected to the source. As a metaphor think of it like the holodeck on the Star Ship Enterprise and the whole thing being generated by the ship's computer.

"I remember understanding the others here.. as if the others here were a part of me too. As if all of it was just a vast expression of me. But it wasn't just me, it was .. gosh this is so hard to explain.. it was as if we were all the same. As if consciousness were like a huge being. The easiest way to explain it would be like all things are all different parts of the same body." - excerpt from Michelle M's NDE,

But art, then there is no individuality. You cannot reconcile this idea of one indiscriminate consciousness with the notion of personal survival. You might say that we're all connected and that individuality is a bit 'washed down'.. but that is very clearly a different notion than that of 'one consciousness'

What oh! What did I do! Turned on the italics and didn't turn them off! See if this works.

Sorry! I can't seem to get them to turn off.

"I was unique yet I was the tiniest part of the whole." - excerpt from Mark Horton's NDE,

No, by experiencing separation in this life it teaches the soul what it means and how it feels to be separate, something it can't learn on the other side. Once the soul learns about separateness it is able to maintain that sense of individuality and uniqueness. It's the whole purpose of this life and why we have to experience so much separation in this life.

I guess putting several html tags to turn off italics worked? Whew! that was embarassing.

I think the development of consciousness and intelligence is easier on the material rather than spiritual plane. Why reincarnation would happen, to meet new obstacles and resistances that make us progress. Obstacles hardly be found in the spiritual plane.

"In his excellent OBE opus Astral Dynamics, Robert Bruce (who was also very influenced by spiritualist connections) mentions a level he reached in OBE which instantly reminded him of the legendary Rainbow Bridge."

Unless the OBE has a veridical aspect to it I don't think each and every OBE is the experience of the afterlife.When you are able to WILD(wake initiated lucid dream) at will you will see that that many aspects of the OBE differ from an NDE.That's not to say "some" aspects might be psi related,but I do think the vast majority of whatever is experienced is a very..very lucid lucid dream.Evidence I have?Offcourse not,but I had at least 100 recorded LD's,~10 very clear WILD obe's and participated in a shared dreaming project.

If Psi is able to manifest itself during waking consiousness,why not during sleeping consiousness when supposedly we are closer to the astral consiousness?Just like in real life this does not mean every participant with supposed abilities is able to do so especially as pure as an NDE in which there is no brain activity.

As for animals in the afterlife spheres,i've read mediumistic accounts of birds in the higher spheres.

Supposedly some birds are the most evolved form of animal on the planet hence they are also in the higher spheres together with Humans.

As for what life forms reincarnate?
To put it simple,the first dying cel of the human somehow lead to the cel of what was to be an ape.Obviously the evolution of the human cel was not as homo sapien or even fishlike.

After this many other life forms split from the cels of the ape-cel,which in turn after many millions(billions?) of years led to evolution of various different cel life forms,many of these creatures for instance bugs and what not did not continue to reincarnate,from cel->fish form->half sea,half land form,->land based,im sure I missed many steps,but to dumb it down,after which dino's which reinarnated many times with their evolution to become the cow and many other landbased creatures and what not we see today,some forms of dino's into Birds we see in our skies,all progressive with the biological evolution and progress of consiousness of each individual lifeform.Animals only into animals being they got their own category in evolution,and humans a different kind of evolution across the planet.

At the end of the chain stands the homo sapien,that would be us,the birds,horses,dog's and who knows monkeys,those creatures with the highest consiousness on earth are also the creatures appearing most in the mediumistic afterlife sphere,coincidence?I think not.Still speculation though XD

My apologizies,I confused ants reincarnation with ant's in the afterlife sphere.I would say only the very highest consiousness reincarnated animals would frequent the afterlife spheres.Hence a reason why an ant could reincarnate but not frequent the afterlife.As to what Laws determine this?Good luck figuring out the exact modus operandi of reincarnation tied to biological evolution of animals.With humans as we know from so many different species(not races) is very complex.

From the afterlife accounts I have read so far, I have found descriptions of wild animals and birds - but not dogs, cats and horses "over there". Why would the afterlife include wild animals who are strangers to us, and not the beloved pets who were our dear friends on this side of the veil?

On the other hand, one could argue that immortality makes sense for humans, who are presumably capable of infinite moral growth and progression. But what would the point be for an animal? Other than to keep us company, of course, because we love them. But would we "outgrow" them in some eons of time?

"From the afterlife accounts I have read so far, I have found descriptions of wild animals and birds - but not dogs, cats and horses "over there"."

Then you haven't read enough afterlife accounts. Pets do survive. I've read accounts of pets surviving and also been in mediumship classes where pets came through ( a dog in one and a parrot in another). In both cases more than one student perceived the pet spirit.

At a séance with Mrs Etta Wriedt (the famous direct voice medium), a sitter was told by the medium's guide: " 'There's a horse here belonging to one of you,' at which there was a laugh.

"The guide, with some asperity, said, 'You may laugh, but let me tell you that people here have their horses, dogs and pets. Ah! you little know the spirit world.' . . ."

In his booklet “Animals in the Spirit World”, Harold Sharp (who was a good friend of mine) wrote:

"When I was six years old we had a dog named Hector. A big lumbering dog.

It knocked me over many times and then would tug at my jacket trying to pull me up again.

If he had been a man instead of a dog I fear that he might well have become a drunkard. I never knew a dog with such a thirst.

He seemed to thrive on drinking.

Every bucket of water, puddle of water, the water in the horses' drinking troughs, dripping taps and if none of these were available he would pull at my mother's skirt and draw her towards the pump.

Hector had been 'dead' for twenty years.

I had almost forgotten his existence until one evening in a physical circle, at the home of Glover Botham in Golders Green, Hector, in full view of everybody, materialised.

There was a large blue china bowl of water on the floor in the centre of the circle as this is thought sometimes to add power to aid various manifestations.

The materialised Hector, unmindful of the purpose for which the water was supplied, set to and very noisily lapped up the whole of it. Then he barked loudly as though to say, 'Wasn't that clever.'

Later we heard that his bark had been heard by the two ladies living next door."

Mr Sharp continues with an interesting account of the return of a bird:

"At about the same time I was at another séance when a lovely blue-green budgerigar materialised in a room, which was in strong red light.

There were eight people present.

Gradually a blue-green mist began to move over the sitters' heads and from this ectoplasmic formation there flew a budgerigar.

It circled around the room then settled on a man's shoulder. He had owned the bird two years previously but it had been 'killed' by a cat.

It evidently recognised its owner, for in a very clear voice – as though appealing to him it said, 'I want a cigarette.'

This made everyone laugh.

It appears that its owner was a chain-smoker and had so often made this remark that the budgie had learned to mimic him."

I woke up this morning and visited to see what's happening in the world. The biggest headline on the page read: "Bidding Farewell from Beyond the Grave?"

It's an article on crisis apparitions:

The most amazing part: in this long piece, only a single sentence discusses a possible non-paranormal explanation.

Yeah. Well.. I can only say that I wish Im able to someday experience something as conclusive as what you told, Zerdini.

I admit that it seems weird to me. The main issue is that if dogs mantain the scope or what we presume to be the extent of their mindful life, then we should assume that someone that is severly discapacitated, with something like mental retardation, would continue to be a retard in the afterlife.

If you then say that upon death the 'constrains' of the brain which cause this retardation are no longer existant, then upon the death of the dog shouldnt one expect its mindful life to be considerably expanded. If this is the case, why does it continue to be percieved as a dog, a horse, a bird, in the afterlife, to the point of materializing as one?

For isnt the difference between us and other animals the extent to which or brain is able to either produce, in a materialist metaphysics, or transmit/filter/etc, on a dualist metaphysics, conscious activity? Why would there be such a division in the afterlife, if the division would seem to arise mainly from the conditions of the 'material sphere'?

Im honestly curious.

I've read NDEs where they said they were able to talk to their pets. I think the stuff that limits us in this life disappears in the next. At least that's the feeling I get from reading lots and lots of NDE's, death bed visions, mystical and transcendental experiences, and watching some Mediums work.

What limits us are out physical bodies and in the next life, while we may have a physical body if we choose to, I get the feeling that it's not a permanent thing but more of a "when you want to" sort of thing?

You have to consider the characteristics of the spirit's mind and the characteristics of the physical brain. In the case of a retarded person, the physical brain is limiting the capacities of the spirit mind. After death those physical constraints are no longer present and the spirit will experince it's full capacity of a normal spirit mind.

In the case of a small animal you would probably have a more limited mind to start with so that after death the capabilities of the spirit might be similar to those of the incarnated animal.

Usually after death, for a time at least, the individual has a spirit body that matches the earth body of the previous incarnation. This is to prevent psychological shock. It initial experience in the afterlife is as similar to the physical life as possible. If an animal incarnated as a poodle, in the afterlife they would have a spirit body of a healthy poodle in the prime of it's life.

However I don't think the poodle would continue to incarnate as a poodle throughout eternity just as the spirit of a human does not continue to incarnate as a human on earth for ever and ever. After some number of lives they would graduate to more advanced lessons and different types of physical or etheric bodies.

Silver Birch: "There is individual survival for domestic animals that have had positive association with humans. Thus they have been helped to achieve an individual evolution that is not possible with animals who are still in a group soul, or soul group, even on earth. It is part of the wonderful relationship that can exist between humans and animals, each helping the other to develop spiritually. You help the animal that comes into your surroundings to achieve a consciousness that is more personal and individual that it otherwise would have been. It is that which survives death. But where there is not this more evolved 'human' expression it joins the soul group or group soul."

Yeah, but that's what Im saying. We say that an ant has a more limited mind because thats what we see in nature, but this is decidedly on the material sphere, where such thing to exist. Discarded the brain, I dont see how any mind could be more limited than any other mind, especially if you bring down the barriers that constrain knowledge. Couldnt the limited mind of the spirit ant tap into universal knowledge, such that it wouldnt make any sense to call it a limited mind?

Zerdini: Sorry, it just seems like an unjustified separation of the human from the rest of nature. We are animals, you know? At least in our body.

Here's what's coming up tonight on Coast to Coast radio:

tonight's show
1am - 5am ET
10pm - 2am PT
Shared Death Experiences
Sun 09-25

Near-death experience expert, Raymond Moody, joins George Knapp to discuss shared death experiences - deathbed moments when entire families see the light, the room changes shape, or everyone is witness to a film-like review of a loved one's life, giving us a new understanding of the journey that we will take at the end of our lives.

I believe that while the minds of animals and human beings after biological death are enhanced, every mind is still limited by his past, if it was an ant, a human, a dolphin. But these limits are not fixed because throught successive reincarnations a mind is being developed more complex and evolving from one species to another such as being precise.

Here's what's coming up tonight on Coast to Coast radio:

You are so lucky in America to have this show. I love it.

"Couldnt the limited mind of the spirit ant tap into universal knowledge, such that it wouldnt make any sense to call it a limited mind?"

You assume ant's are able to experience an afterlife sphere.

What if this was not the case(as I assume it to be)

Then your limited mind issue problem is nonexistent for ants at least.

As for birds and dogs,from the accounts i've read in the afterlife sphere when elevated to a higher sphere of light they have a higher consiousness then it would have while on earth with physical restraints and urges.

For instance,birds automatically fly to you on your arm to welcome you into the sphere of light while singing their most beautiful song.Telepathy goes both ways with animals and humans.They can feel what you feel in the afterlife and so you can experience their consiousness as well when the connection is made.

I don't see many birds doing that by themselves here on earth.So expanded consiousness of animals in the spheres of light is a possibility I suppose,but how expanded is anyone's guess.


I may be wrong here but your thought that a dog suddenly might expand its consciousness when it pops off seems to assume that 'consciousness' comes in one size. Is it possible that it doesn't? That consciousness may expand in a natural way but that we don't all have an equal serving of it? Or maybe it comes in 'dog size' and 'horse size' and 'human size'? :)

It would appear that even humans, after death don't suddenly have a massive, or even significant, increase in their consciousness. They appear to be exactly what they were before they died. Change does seem to come for them, but not rapidly.

I know that many who follow the Wiccian or Pagan beliefs discuss the Rainbow Bridge as the path to the Summerlands or afterlife.

I agree with Paul, and am not sure why anyone would assume that all consciousnesses are the same. Suppose instead of "consciousness" we say "soul." Isn't it entirely possible, even likely, that every soul is different, in fact unique? That not only are animal souls different from human souls, but my soul is different from yours? The alternative is that all souls are just parts of an undifferentiated, amorphous, identity-less cosmic blob of pure awareness. Where's the fun in that?

That's what it starts out as, just like we were once part of our parent's DNA. Then we come to earth and experience separation and learn what it means and how it feels to be separate and that imprints on the soul and it becomes a separate, unique, individual. I think it has a whole lot to do with "why we are here."

"You are so lucky in America to have this show. I love it."
Subscribers worldwide can listen to live and archived broadcasts over the Internet. You can subscribe by clicking links at the top of the third column of the site, here:

Yeah Art but I dont think that the human being is the last chain in the spiritual evolution process. I mean, I suppose people say that animals would reincarnate, continously expanding its native consciousness through sucessive incarnations. I say, then, that the same would happen with us humans.

You see, what Im trying to fit in is the phenomena that constitutes the 'material shpere'. I think that Michael and others would be more generous to the idea that reincarnation (here, or elsewhere) is part of the picture. I suppose that you subscribe to the view that you will continue to be Art ad infinitum, as would an ant. But on that view, why wouldnt a retard be a retard ad infinitum?

The person who you think to be yourself is only known as it can manifest through the brain you are endowed with, so that your survival could potentially be as something that is completely different from the 'you' that you think you are.

Also, the idea that animals will 'come to you and sing their sweetest tunes' is rather odd. Its too anthropocentric for me. I mean, sure, you can fit your pet Pete there, but where do you place the lions and tigers in the afterlife? Wouldnt they be preying on us? Hunting us? Hunting other beings? Its kinda what constitutes what we know the be a Tiger, isnt it? Kinda disrupts the harmonious picture that people make the afterlife to be.

Maybe you can hold that the human mind is the first to become complex enough to survive as an independent entity, whilst 'lower beings' reincarnate until they gain the adequate complexity. Maybe I see that working out.. but then it would mean that some humans might not have a sufficiently complex mind to personally survive (they might survive in other ways).

The skeptics responding to the CNN article that Bruce Siegel posted are using a laughable false comparison tactic in the comments to dismiss veridical accounts of crisis apparitions ...

"In the early 1900s there were repeated reports of fairy sightings including the famous "Cottingley Fairies" which were a series of 5 photographs in 1917. This inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to interpret the photos as clear and visible evidence of psychic phenomena. We look back on this time and laugh these fraudulent claims now, and no doubt we will find ourselves in a similar situation 50 years from now."

In addition, they pull what I affectionately call the "Universal Conspiracy Theory" explanation. The accusation that every single person who has claimed to have experienced a crisis apparition BEFORE they learned of the person's death, is a damn dirty liar, who made it up after the fact.

Comments like those make me glad that finally at age 31, after debating close-minded dismissive skeptics online since I was 19 or so, I've learned that it's fruitless and a waste of time and breath to try to argue or reason with them.

I hope that when these cynics pass on they remain in a state of ignorance and unprogression, believing themselves to simply be in an ongoing dream while their brain is still preserved somewhere, "I must be in a deep coma, that's it, and this is my dream, that's why it keeps going on and on!" Or, "I've been cryogenically frozen, that's it!", or, "I'm a brain in a vat, that's it! Science is keeping my brain alive! That's why I'm having this experience!" And never find their cynical way out of it. A waste of breath here, and there, lol.

The skeptic's comparing the "Cottingley Fairies" fraud to modern accounts of Crisis Apparitions, besides the obvious ridiculousness of that comparison, is basically saying, "This totally unrelated alleged paranormal event was once considered by a gullible paranormal researcher to be true, but it was a hoax, therefore all other totally unrelated paranormal claims are automatically a hoax as well, so stop wasting your time, in 50 years it will be laughable as well, if one thing's a hoax, everything's a hoax!"

"Yeah Art but I dont think that the human being is the last chain in the spiritual evolution process. I mean, I suppose people say that animals would reincarnate," - 22

Just for the record, I am not a believer in reincarnation. Not all new age types are the same!

I'm the holographic universe guy who believes we are all connected to the Source, the Light, and come here to Earth to become separate, unique, individuals and everything living is connected to the source too.

But if ya'll want to reincarnate, be my guest! Me? Not so much! Once I make it to the other side I ain't leaving!

Art has such fixed ideas that there is no room for compromise in any shape or form.

It is, therefore, pointless to try and put any other view.

"I'm a brain in a vat, that's it! Science is keeping my brain alive! That's why I'm having this experience!" And never find their cynical way out of it. A waste of breath here, and there, lol."

Funny, and maybe it works like that, Eteponge. I was reading about some Atlantean and Lemurian fire elementals that still persist, even though their world has gone. They carry on thinking they're important by getting into the human unconscious and influencing us into believing in them! Perhaps after the paradigm shift, the atheist fundamentalists will do something similar.

Art said:

"But if ya'll want to reincarnate, be my guest! Me? Not so much! Once I make it to the other side I ain't leaving!"

Here's the problem I see with that kind of thinking. It's based on extrapolating how you'll feel at some future time, based on how you feel today.

It's like certain skeptics who say: "Eternal life? How boring to spend an eternity being conscious. That's the last thing I want. No, I'm glad to know that when I die, I'll be snuffed out and exist no more."

Of course, this is a different viewpoint than yours, Art. But it's based on the same premise: I know what it'll be like when my body dies.

There is no way--literally and absolutely no way--for you to know for certain what you'll want when you leave your body.

Think about it: are you really willing to make a prediction that will cover your entire future into eternity? That's a long time.

Let me add a little more to that:

I personally have trouble predicting what I'm going to want next WEEK.

And I like that. It means I'm open to all sorts of cool surprises.

By the way, in referring to the attitude of "certain skeptics," I was thinking about Isaac Asimov. I think he once said something like that.

Well, I guess I can't stop chewing on this bone. :o)

I don't mean to say that ALL extrapolation is impossible. I think we can have some inklings about the afterlife that may reflect the truth of what will actually happen and how we'll feel.

It's just the sense of absolute certainty as reflected in your comment, Art, that strikes me as unrealistic.

Make sense?

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