Accompanying the deceased beyond the threshold

Matthias Girke

Last update: 17.09.2015

Inner certainty about the reality of a person’s soul-spiritual being leads to questions about her accompaniment, when her being can no longer express itself through the physical body and the familiar physically-facilitated relationship is no longer possible. Just as one hears little from a travelling friend and yet still assumes that she exists, it is similar for the great journey that begins at the moment of death. A dying person once formulated it thus, in his dying words: “That was the first act. I am going on a great journey.”

Many who have near-death experiences describe meetings with relatives and other people and beings.


A patient described inner meetings with his mother, who had died early on, in which she regularly answered his burning questions. After several years, she came to him a last time and told him that she now had to move on to another path. Since this time, the now elderly patient has not met her again.

Eyes oriented to this side of the threshold are closed to this reality of the deceased. Rudolf Steiner gave various suggestions for accompanying the deceased. Gratitude and loving thoughts toward the deceased become spiritual bridges. Inwardly envisioned images of them or memories of typical gestures or behaviours can create an inner connection. After preparation of this kind, a text or verse can be read and inwardly spoken for the deceased. The content can be based on their needs, which can be inferred from knowledge of the phase of the life tableau (for two to three days following the moment of death), the rückschau of the earthly life (which, according to Rudolf Steiner, lasts approximately as long as the amount of time spent in sleep in the last earthly life), and the forming of future destiny. If a life ends suddenly and seemingly unpreparedly, a mother, for example, can live in thoughts with the attitude that this child perceives with her through her eyes and ears—that she is close to him through this, and that she can see through the mirror of his soul “the realm of angels with her inner eye.”

We can also seek an inner connection to the angel of the deceased, as the power that accompanies the spirit of the deceased:

Spirit of your soul, effective guardian,
May your wings convey
Our souls’ petitioning love
To this human of the Spheres, committed to your care;
So that, united with your power,
Our prayer may radiate helpfully
To the soul it seeks in love.

Geist Deiner Seele, wirkender Wächter,
Deine Schwingen mögen bringen
Unserer Seelen bittende Liebe
Deiner Hut vertrautem Sphärenmenschen
Dass mit Deiner Macht geeint
Unsere Bitte helfend strahle
Der Seele, die sie liebend sucht.

Through such inner work, the deceased will not be forgotten, but rather can reach a helping hand to those still on the earth.

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