Mariel Forde Clarke: where do our loved ones go after they die?

(Global Heart | Esther Haasnoot) What lies beyond the veil of death? Comforting and reassuring messages from a spirit midwife. Death is not the end, but rather a new beginning. An interview with Mariel Forde Clarke about her newest book: “Where after?”.

Where do our loved ones go after they die?

“Death is an inevitable fact of life and is very much feared by most people. What is it like to die? Do our hearts just stop and everything else just withers and dies. Or does something powerful and miraculous happen? Does a spark of divinity – the soul, live on after death in a realm of higher consciousness?”

“Where after is about knowledge, facts, and proven medical statistics that consciousness survives beyond death. It provides a compelling argument for the afterlife based on medical, spiritual, and scientific facts that can only unearth and overturn any fears the reader may have of ‘Where do loved ones go after they die’?”

An interview with Mariel Forde Clarke about her new book: “Where after” by Esther Haasnoot

Esther Haasnoot: Many of us avoid the idea of facing our mortality; we chase away all thoughts of death and dying in the hope it will never come to our door. This is primarily due to our fear around death, the fear of the unknown. As a spirit midwife, you assist a person who is dying in a handover process into the world of spirit. How do you assist in this process? Can you tell us something about your new book and your work as a spirit midwife?

Mariel Forde Clarke: Do not mourn because the caterpillar has become a beauteous butterfly. Do not weep because the cage has been opened and the bird has been set free. Rejoice and know that the enfranchised soul has found liberty and that, if you would but unfold the powers that the Great Spirit has given you, you could understand the plan of death and realize that death is but a stepping stone, a door through which you enter into the larger freedom of the realms of Spirit.  – Silver Birch.

This book delves deeper into many spiritual areas, for example, out of body experiences, journey of the soul, reincarnation, past life regression, suicide, forgiveness, love, and many more interrelated topics in a very factual and understanding way that allows the reader to draw their own conclusions.

“Where After” is a self-help guide to the many stages and phases of grief with down-to-earth exercises to assist the reader in moving beyond the pain of grief and achieve after-death communication if desired with their loved ones.

It encompasses love and loss, hope and immortality, life after death, a supreme intelligence that guides and over lights every sentient being upon mother earth. It shines a light on the soul’s journey and the many trips it takes time and time again until enlightenment is achieved.

This is a spiritual book and suitable for any reader where no dominant influence is given to a particular religion or creed. It will release many fears the reader may have around death and embrace the awesome possibilities that the afterlife awaits them

My work as a spiritual midwife is a most sacred and humbling experience for me and one which I honour with all my heart and soul. Just as a midwife maybe present at the birth of a baby to cut the umbilical cord so too a similar process takes place when someone is about to make their transition. As a channel of the Divine, I am called upon to assist in releasing the silver cord from the physical body. This cord is the lifeline, the life force that keeps the physical body nourished while having the human experience here upon earth. Just as the umbilical cord nourishes the baby in its mother’s womb, so too the silver cord nourishes the soul during its lifetime. The silver cord is limitless and can stretch beyond the earth’s plane into the realm of spirit during our dream or sleep state. The cord nourishes the soul with the life force of God/Creator and only disengages from the physical body when the earth’s journey is complete. During the dying process as the soul leaves the physical body the silver cord becomes thinner as it is stretched to its limit and eventually snaps. When this happens it is not possible for the soul to reenter the body; this stage is known as the point of no return

When the life contract is complete (which is always determined by the soul) I am called as the spirit midwife to assist the departing soul. But before I begin this process I always ask permission of the soul before me. Closing down the energy centres is a soulful and sacred process. It is done so with reverence and total respect. It takes energy for a soul to leave the body and that is why it is so important to give the person permission to go. With the reassurance that loved ones and family members will miss them – but will be okay. I work with the energy centres and recoil each of the chakras one by one. When this is complete it creates the space for the departing soul to rise from its earth body and cross over feeling loved, safe, and without fear. Afterwards I work with the bereaved families to help them continue to feel the presence of their loved one by using practical methods of afterlife communication.

Esther Haasnoot: Since your own near-death experience in 1992, you have dedicated your life to exploring the mystery of life and death. To what extent was this a crucial point in your life?

Mariel Forde Clarke: My own quest for such answers came in 1992 when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and was facing my own mortality. I died on the operating table and was later told by my surgeon that it was a miracle that I came back from been pronounced dead. He said that someone in a highter power must be watching over me. I have the NDE experience which I shall never forget – it was beauty, serenity, peace, love, and oneness. Why did I survive this experience and some don’t.

I understood then that there was a reason for my existence, but I needed to discover why. The promise of a place, a heaven, was something I needed to explore. I became a seeker of knowledge I had an insatiable thirst for what lies beyond. I read many books on death and dying, I travelled abroad to undertake workshops. I studied many healing modalities, became a Shaman, an angel healer, crystal healer, grief counselor, and teacher on spiritual awakening. I met amazing and inspiring teachers on my journey; to mention a few, Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Brian Weiss, Wayne Dyer, and many more. I studied mediumship with the awesome James Van Praagh. I was only scratching the surface of what lies beyond the physical world beyond the five senses. Through my healing work, I was receiving messages from people who had passed on. I was sensing blockages within the energy body of clients. I was beginning to understand that a powerful energy was guiding me and working through me. This energy I knew was not the energy I was born with, but a spiritual energy that would enter me when I invoked it prior to working on a client. Helen Keller once said that, The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

I finally understood what her statement meant: during healing sessions I was transported onto a different plane of existence, where a download of Divine energy would seal me and a loving presence would overlight the entire session. I was merely a channel, a conduit for this energy to pass through me. Was this the same light that people reported after having a near-death experience (NDE); was this the light I saw all those years earlier? I had to know, I craved the answers and they came in many different ways. My NDE had awakened my spiritual gifts and placed me on a journey of self-discovery in the realization that death is part of the mystery of life and if we choose to seek evidence for an afterlife – the evidence is there for the seeker.

Esther Haasnoot: The physical body is the vehicle that houses your soul while having its earth experience. The soul holds the consciousness of whom you truly are. As human beings, we live in the physical world where we uphold and respect the laws of our country. Whether we consciously know or understand it, our souls are governed by spiritual laws that over-light the universe. Spiritual life and physical life are distinct from each other, yet they are entwined as they serve each other. How do you see this? 

Mariel Forde Clarke: As human beings, we live in the physical world where we uphold and respect the laws of our land. Whether we consciously know or understand it, our souls are governed by spiritual laws that overlight the universe. Our physical life is inseparable from our spiritual life and vice versa. This is becoming increasingly evident as more and more people are searching consciously for soul illumination to help them fulfill their spiritual purpose. Everything and everyone has a spiritual life and physical life. A soul in the universe has a spiritual existence, it has a spiritual life. When a soul reincarnates as a human being, it takes on a physical body. Spiritual life and physical life are distinct from each other yet they are entwined as they serve each other. When the life’s purpose upon earth is complete the silver cord disengages from the physical body and the soul moves outwards back to the Creator/Source.

out-of-body experience

Esther Haasnoot: Throughout the ages, the soul has been the subject of much discussion and argument, not only by its definition but also as to where it resides in the human body. Where is the soul located, and how is it connected with our body?

Mariel Forde Clarke: Plato the Greek philosopher is considered to be the first to write on the definition of the soul. He defined the soul as “a sensation as a communication between soul and body.” According to Plato, the body was “the medium for the soul.” Aristotle regarded the soul “as the sum of the vital principles as being to the body what vision is to the eye.” The soul was to him the true being in the body. While the definition of soul has varied down through the ages, the one prevailing commonality throughout is that it is the soul that defines us not the body. I believe the body is the temple of the soul and as my work continues to expand more specifically in the area of light body healing and soul retrieval, I have found that no matter how much you may identify with your body – your body is not you. Remember you are eternal and the soul is that spiritual part of you that never dies. Your physical body has its term of contract. It only lasts a lifetime; just like a pair of old shoes you have outworn, you step out of them to walk again in a brand-new pair.

The physical body is the vehicle that houses your soul while having its earth experience. The soul holds the consciousness of who you truly are. The soul carries within it the memories and experiences of all your lifetimes. The soul contains the divine essence of Creator/God which is within you and me and every single human on this planet. It is this Divine essence that gives us access to eternal life. In other words, our bodies are simply empty vessels without the existence of the soul. Everything has a soul. An animal has a soul. A tree, a flower has a soul. A rock has a soul. Everything in the universe has a soul. Your soul holds the experience and the emotions of all of the choices you have made in this lifetime and every other incarnation of your soul evolution.

The Souls location is the subject of much discussion and argument, especially where it resides in the human body. Personally, I believe the soul is the ultimate life force that animates the body. It is everywhere while it spreads its consciousness over the entire body. The most comprehensive explanation of where the soul resides has come from my Spirit Guide Gallianna. She states that the soul resides nowhere in the body, for it is immaterial, yet it resides everywhere. The soul drives the mind, the will, and the emotions. It drives the heart leading man towards unconditional love. Yet it resides in the brain guiding the actions and embracing the memories and calming the fears. According to my guide, all of the above answers are right. But none of them are enough to know all that the soul really is. Or where she lies. She is in all, and of all of you and me. However, its precise location varied in that some believed it resided in the heart while others believed it was in the head or breastbone Philosophers, psychologists, and scientists, such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Swedenborg, and Descartes, all believed the soul’s existence was the most divine part of the human psyche and contained the God particle of a creative force.

Esther Haasnoot: Some people have spontaneous out-of-body experiences (OBEs). Different cultures, throughout history, all contain literature on this phenomenon. What are out-of-body experiences, and what are the signs that can tell you had one?

Mariel Forde Clarke: The phenomenon of out-of-body experience or astral projection is a natural part of human existence and dates back to ancient times. Different cultures throughout history, Greek, Egyptian, Chinese, and Indian, including the Bible, all contain literature on this phenomenon. They view it as part of life and as natural as breathing. These out-of-body experiences can occur to anybody independent of religion, culture, age, sex, or education. Most out-of-body experiences take place during the night when the body is sleeping, but this can also occur during the day when one blanks out for a few moments. This type of scenario happens to one of my friends all the time. One minute she is communicating with you, and without warning and within seconds she looks completely blank. She is still there in her body, but outside of it. When this happens her soul has decided to check in on someone who she is concerned about, be it a sick child or a family member going through a crisis. As she is a gifted healer, her soul sometimes leaves her body momentarily in order to channel a healing to a client who is in difficulty or in need of healing. This type of OBE is very common and is not harmful to the person experiencing it. I understand that out-of-body or astral projection is a cause for concern for some people as they view it as dabbling and interfering with the unknown. However, it is important to remember that the spirit body is attached to the physical body by a silver cord and remains connected to the body throughout its lifetime until it is broken at the moment of physical death. To the trained practitioner, especially Shamans, this cord can be visibly seen. During a near-death experience (NDE) the spirit body floats above the physical body while remaining connected by the silver cord. However, if it is the divine timing of the soul to leave this earth’s plane, the cord disengages from the physical body and death occurs. This is in stark contrast to an out-ofbody experience (OBE) whereby the soul can come and go at will. The cord holds the person grounded to earth while the soul takes frequent trips in and out of the body during its lifetime.

The Monroe Institute, Virginia, USA is renowned for its experimental and controlled programs on initiating spontaneous out-of-body experiences. Although Robert Monroe passed away in 1995, he left behind a great legacy in the exploration of consciousness beyond the physical body. Monroe published his first book Journeys Out of the Body which to this day remains the bible in out-of-body phenomenon.

Signs of Out-of-Body Experiences. Listed below are a number of signs that may indicate your soul is having an out-of-body experience:

• During sleep you wake up with a feeling of sinking, floating, or suddenly dropping.
• You dream of loved ones and remember having full-blown conversations with them.
• You wake during the night in a state of total paralysis and you can’t move.
• You feel a high buzzing vibration, particularly around the head area.
• You
wake up with the feeling of having been somewhere beautiful and sacred.
• You are prone to daydreaming or staring into space.
• Footsteps or other sounds of a Being’s Presence.
• Surge of energy flowing through your body.
• Delightful smell, flowers, perfume, aftershave, aromas.
• You find yourself after falling asleep leaving your physical body.
• You feel at peace after a dream, having met your loved one in spirit.
• You feel a sensation of being pulled back into your body.

It’s important for the reader to be aware that most out-of-body experiences occur at night although you may not be consciously aware of it. If you are prone to daydreaming or appear to go blank, this can signify you are having a momentary out-of-body experience. My advice to you is don’t panic, trust in the wisdom of your soul as it holds the key to your safety and protection. It will not allow anything to happen to you during these trance states.

out-of-body experience (1)

Esther Haasnoot: Throughout your work, you have found that various kinds of trauma are responsible for the soul becoming fragmented. For example, sex abuse, accidents, loss of loved ones, addictions, surgical procedures, illness, violations, and abuse of any kind may leave people feeling disconnected from their bodies. Can you explain what soul fragmentation is and what to do about it?

Mariel Forde Clarke: The soul can fragment or parts of it splinter away because of many different types of trauma that has occured to the body. In my work, I have been blessed to use the healing modality of soul retrieval. This is very effective to bring healing and restoration to the wounded soul.

Soul retrieval is not for everyone; sometimes the client may have a negative attitude towards the process which in turn can block any healing benefits. When I pick up on this type of energy from a client, I encourage them to seek professional help elsewhere to prepare for the soul’s return. The soul has a powerful wisdom and supreme intelligence that can find the resources it needs to heal. Always be discerning in whom you entrust yourself to. Make sure the practitioner is registered and upholds ethical standards for best practice procedures.

Indications of Soul Fragmentation. The following questions are indicators of determining if Soul Loss has occurred:

• Do you suffer from any of the following addictions, i.e. alcohol, sex, drugs, spending, or gambling?
• Do you feel detached from your body?
• Do you feel your body does not belong to you?
• Do you find it hard to move forward in life – after your breakup or divorce?
• Do you suffer from anxiety or ongoing depression?
• Do you have suicidal thoughts – thinking the world would be better off without you?
• Do you have a memory loss for certain times in your life?
• Do you suffer from a sleep disorder?
• Do you feel lifeless or dead inside?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions chances are you may be suffering from soul fragmentation. It is important to engage the help of a professional who in a safe environment can retrieve that part or parts of you that withdrew during your traumatic experience.

Esther Haasnoot: When you gaze upon the dying, you can sense they are beginning to belong more fully to the unseen world. Often people experience deathbed visions (DBV) at the moment of death or in the days or weeks leading up to death. Can you tell us a bit more about that? What are the differences and similarities between the near-death experience and the end-of-life deathbed vision?

Mariel Forde Clarke: I have witnessed extraordinary phenomenon at the bedside of the dying. I have seen people die with their deceased relatives in the room waiting to take them home. I have seen people fighting with death and terrified of dying when all of a sudden they will open their eyes, gaze into a particular corner of the room, smile, and then a sense of peace and calm surrounds them and the fight is no more.

A deathbed vision (DBV) is described as a vision or experience that the individual has before dying. Instances of these unexplained visions have been recorded throughout history and stand as one of the most compelling proofs of life after death. These deathbed visions do not discriminate as they transcend beyond all cultures, age, race, sex, and creed. These reported visions may occur at the moment of death or in the days or weeks leading up to death. It is important to note that major commonalities exist between the near-death experience and the end-of-life deathbed vision. The person having a near-death experience is catapulted outside his/her body where he/she meets a loved one or significant other that tells him to “go back – it’s not your time.” This person either by medical intervention or divine dispensation returns to living a normal life again. In comparison; deathbed visions are a determining factor that signals death is close. It’s not unusual for the dying person to suddenly gaze upwards with light-filled eyes and exclaim, “Oh, you have come to take me home.” Usually within a brief time of this happening the person dies. In other words, as mentioned earlier the silver cord is severed from the physical body and the soul is then free to journey onwards; there is the point of no return.

The words spoken between the silent pauses are encapsulated by a newfound freedom and peace. When you gaze upon the dying you can sense they are beginning to belong more fully to the unseen world. It is in these moments that the visions of their departed family members, angels, or holy ones make their presence known. This is a time of incredible beauty where the homecoming for the departing soul is welcomed and handed through the veil into eternal life.

Esther Haasnoot: Comforting words from a loving voice can provide a temporary shelter before the great silence falls. You are often called to attend the bedside of the dying. What is the most important thing to do that transcends the pain of death?

Mariel Forde Clarke: Being present at the deathbed of someone you love is a transformational spiritual experience. This is the most significant time as the last moments on earth are treasured. Regardless of the shock and pain of your grief, your primary attention should be focused on the one about to slip into the stillness of death. Oftentimes family members will ask, “What will I say?” “Can he/ she hear me?” “I haven’t spoken to him/her for over forty years,” “Can I hold his/her hand?” etc. My advice is always practical. If you listen reverently with your heart, you will be given the words that are most needed to be heard within the soul of the dying person. Comforting words from a loving voice can provide a temporary shelter before the great silence falls. I have witnessed amazing things around the deathbed experience. I have heard songs sung, prayers shared, stories regaled, forgiveness exchanged, photographs taken, promises made, but the most palpable of all remains the strong energy of love that transcends the pain of death. It is an overwhelming blessing to watch a dying person become more beautiful as they approach their final moments.

Esther Haasnoot: Children do not always have the resources or experiences to verbalize how they are feeling or what is on their minds. What is the best way to help a grieving child?

Mariel Forde Clarke: When this happens the child may become withdrawn or exhibit behaviors that are totally out of character with that of the child. In these situations, it is best to seek the help of a professional grief counselor that specializes in child grief therapy. Art and clay therapies are an amazing platform that allows children to express their grief through nonverbal mediums. By using these therapeutic tools children can express their feelings through creative drawings or imagery icons. These act as a means of communication that allows the child to communicate in a way that doesn’t require words. It gives permission to express freely what’s on the child’s mind and in its heart. To ask a child to draw “how they are feeling” can result in a mind-blowing story of pain, fear, and sadness. The pictures tell the story, the images portray the missing pieces, the colors depict the mood, the resolution on the page highlights the anger and frustration that is locked within screaming to get out. With time and patience, these interventions can help a parent to connect with their child and help form a deeper insight into their emotional world.

Healthy Techniques to help Children Express their Grief:

The following are a number of simple techniques that can be used to facilitate the grieving process in children. Integrating the loss through using these will support children in a more holistic and therapeutic manner. Create a Sacred Place, create a direct telephone line, create time for letter writing, create a family hour, create an arts and crafts activity session, create a memory box, create a balloon releasing ceremony.

I believe the most valuable support any adult can possibly offer to a grieving child is to be present; just be there, no need to fill the empty silences with words. You can let the child know that it is okay to talk or not to talk about it. But that you will be there whenever they are ready. There is nothing more powerful for the grieving child than knowing they are loved and supported beyond their valley of tears.

Esther Haasnoot: Many people in every country irrespective of age, gender, religion, or economic background experienced after-death communications. It occurs when a deceased loved one makes direct contact with a living person. What are the most common signs that our loved one is drawing close to us?

Mariel Forde Clarke: Now that your loved one has arrived on the other side and asks you to be aware of the many signs that will be placed before you as reminders that your loved one is watching over you. These signs will come in a variety of ways and the key is to keep an open mind to the synchronicities that are placed before you. Personally, I have had many ADC over the years and it is a most beautiful gift to receive their guidance and messages. Be not afraid of such communication as the love that was shared is eternal and that love never dies. After death communication can happen in many ways, through dreams, meditative states, or out-of-body experiences. It is well documented that many people from all over the world and all walks of life believe they have been contacted by their deceased loved one in spirit. Know that your loved one will try to communicate with you through messages, signs, and other subtle signals. One of the most modern inspirational books on after-death communication is Hello from Heaven by Bill and Judy Guggenheim. Their groundbreaking research of ADCs confirms that love is eternal and communication does not end with physical death. Their research documents many such experiences stating that after-death contact is a normal and acceptable part of the grieving and healing process.

The following are the most common signs that your loved one is drawing close to you.

Sensing their presence
Feeling their touch
Smelling their fragrance
Hearing their voice
Unexpected electrical activity
Dreams and visitations
Rainbows are heaven’s calling card
Orbs of loved ones appearing in digital photographs.

My advice is always pay close attention when any of the above happens – chances are your loved one is trying to communicate with you.

Esther Haasnoot: Even as they attempt to communicate with us, there are a number of reasons that may block their messages from getting through to us. What are the main reasons why our loved ones cannot get through to us?

Mariel Forde Clarke: Your loved one in spirit will try endlessly to let you know that they are happy and reside in another plane of existence. Even as they attempt to communicate with you, there are a number of reasons that may block their messages getting through to you.

• If you feel that your grief is unbearable – know that your sadness creates a wall of depression around your heart which makes it impossible even for the strongest of spirits to penetrate. When your grief begins to subside and your heart opens – only then can your loved one get through to you – pay attention to the signs.
• If you experienced a meaningful dream or received a symbol, but instead of holding it as a sign from your loved one – you passed it off as a coincidence or completely ignored the message it conveyed.
• If you have unresolved resentment, guilt, or anger towards your loved one that will automatically shut down any chance of your loved one penetrating through the field of negativity where your anger resides.

Once you are in a space of love and forgiveness, and with patience, you will get the messages you were intended to receive.

• If you place demands or expect too much from your loved one that too will block communication. For example, “If you are here, turn the lights on and off,” or “Switch the channels on the TV,” or “Make the telephone ring.” Your loved one can do many things, but they don’t suddenly gain superpowers when they die. Allow your loved one to choose the communication that is best suited to you and have faith that the messages will come at the right time in a meaningful way.

• If you are too traumatized by your grief your loved one may decide to first communicate with a relative or close friend instead of you. Your first reaction is, “Why didn’t he/she contact me first?” The answer quite simply is – your loved one in spirit definitely wishes you to know that he/ she is okay and chooses to appear to the person who is most receptive to get the message to you at that time. Always remember your loved one does not gain superpowers because they have entered the heavenly realm.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval somewhere very near, just around the corner.” – Henry Scott Holland



Since her own near-death experience in 1992, Mariel has dedicated her life to exploring the mystery of life and death. She has studied many cultures where the afterlife is considered our true home. From the various research gleaned, she now understands that a belief in an afterlife determines and impacts on how one grieves. Anecdotal evidence from many of her workshops showed a prevailing common theme. Participants who believe in an afterlife manage their grieving process in a healthier and more integrative way. For others, the afterlife is of no concern, with death being the cessation of all life and communication.

These workshops to name a few include: The Journey of the Soul, Life after Physical Death, Coping with Loss, and healing through the Grieving Process.

Other workshops include: Spirituality in the Workplace, Angels and Spiritual Awakening, Ascension finding your Way back to Source, The Way – The Chalice of Light, The Secret Teachings of Mary Magdalene. For more information or to connect with Mariel Forde Clarke: Website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

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