When I was eight years old, I was abducted from the United States and taken to Africa. It was 1977. We landed in Rhodesia during the Bush War and I was soon separated from the man who kidnapped me. I spent the night alone in the bush, and then made my way to a tribe who gave me water, food, and safety. This tribe became my new family. They cared for me as one of their own. They taught me how to sing their songs, and how to plant and harvest. I was even given my own dress. I loved my tribe, especially my Mama Eahton who adopted me as her own. My village was peaceful until a faction of armed guerrillas rode in while shouting and making threats. When the guerrillas entered, an adult quickly hid me. After they left, the men in our tribe began to carry guns. One week after the hostile visit, in a ceremony full of dancing, drums, and celebration, I was given the name Aisha. Aisha, which means 'she is life'. Days later, the guerrillas came near the village again, and shot me as I was playing in the grass. I began to die of blood loss and shock. I crossed over into death and met five beings, one after the other. They led me through my confusion and pain to acceptance, peace, and then to all-encompassing love. During my journey I looked back, to see my Mama Eahton was holding my body and wailing. Though I treasured her and did not want her to be sad, I journeyed onward into the love that was pouring into me like a warm river. I began to hear a song that made me pause in my journey. Mama's wailing had turned to singing. Her calling song reminded me of why I needed to live. I decided to return. I turned around and moved back through the veils that separated us, like a long stream of light from a stained glass window I returned to my body. Now held in my Mama's strong arms, I was ready to be carried back to our village.
Date NDE Occurred: Summer 1977
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Criminal attack. Direct head injury. Life threatening event, but not clinical death
It was the Rhodesian Bush War and I was shot. The bullet grazed the top of my head and I began to die of shock and blood loss.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain I saw my African mother pull my body up on her lap. She had her hand on my head to stop the bleeding.
I lost awareness of my body
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal Beyond comparison. I could see all directions and unlimited love within and around me. I knew we are never alone.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When a Jesus-like being put his forehead to mine, he opened me to see that there are living lines of connection like beautiful spider webs glistening in the sun that connect all living beings.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. At first, my vision was limited like a baby. I could not focus and everything was a blur. My vision continued to gain clarity and breadth. I could see great distances and feel connected to what I saw.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. My experience was highly visual. The African woman who adopted me as her own sang to me from earth side and I heard her song calling me home.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, but the facts have not been checked out
The experience included: Tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes I had to go through a dark cave and come out the other side. Only after I viewed my body from above did I then lift off into a tunnel-like place. The walls were a living, kind presence and the veils that closed behind me where like giant leaves covering over the entrance to the secret garden.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Uncertain No family, but I 'knew' them in my soul.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes The tunnel was ever increasing light, and jellyfish like creatures passed through me to purify me of remaining trauma so I could better receive the love that was up ahead, coming from the Great Heart.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm So many at each stage. There were natural environments and an ancient stone stairwell with landings.
The experience included: Hellish imagery
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt fear, loss, shame, confusion, resistance, and willfulness. This gave way to acceptance, understanding, love, and gratitude.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? incredible joy
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about myself or others I was eight so I would not say I understood everything. I understood I am both powerful and vulnerable, and that no matter what I had to do in order to survive on earth, I always belong and am loved by the Great, Great Grandmother of us all.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control The past trauma I had repressed and felt shame about. I was confronted with my own repressed screams in the dark cave, but a being of generous guidance was there to help me through it. Once I accepted how I felt, all the screaming became quiet.
The experience included: Awareness of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a definite conscious decision to return to life I had the choice to keep going in the tunnel or come back to live my purpose which is to Sing my medicine song to others. My desire to sing turned me around. I regretted my decision as I came back closer to my body but it was too late to turn back.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Moderately important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Secular unaffiliated
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes The more I have written it down the greater my ability to pass it forward in my healing work. I can draw upon it, literally.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Buddhist Buddhist with strong relationship to Jesus, Totem Animals, Earth as a living guiding presence, and the Great Heart
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I had shame about being abused so I must be unworthy. Then they speak to me directly in color and sound waves. I can easily understand what they are saying. They give me this message, 'you are made of the same thing we are: goodness. You are from here. We are going to help you purify feelings of being broken so you remember that you are good.'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes It took years to remember and unpack my experience so it was a growing evolution of gratitude.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin I encountered five beings who all served to help purify me to be able to move to the next level.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? Yes It may be a cultural influence that I am interpreting the being as Jesus. He had a sheepherder staff and was clothed with a long robe. Then he changed forms to show me the form is not important. I was not raised Christian in the least, so I wouldn't expect to see Jesus.
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes The two sisters who first greeted me have been there to greet me before
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes This royal kaleidoscope man shows me his original face. He leans in closer to me and looks me in the eyes with his kind, soft gaze. I feel anticipation growing in me as if I am going to receive a gift beyond anything I have ever known before. He closes his eyes and mine close, because we are linked in a way I have not known before. Behind my closed eyes, I see millions of points of light connected by beautiful living lines. This gigantic living web with a diamond of light at each intersection astounds me. I see the living lines can move and create new connections. When I focus on the completely dynamic web, I see all of life is gracefully linked together like a million swallows flying as one great bird. Something changes and I am not just looking from the outside at this wonder of living lines; I am inside of them. From within I can simultaneously visit every living thing. My journey is so swift that the visits are not like making personal acquaintances, but rather gathering relationships to know the value in all living beings. I am smelling decomposing leaves in a grove of oak trees. I hear the pants swishing of a young woman running a race through woodlands. I am watching sunlight glisten on the back of a frog that just climbed out of the water. I am listening to the deep pop sound of ice moving in a glacier. I am taking in the scent of an elk that is bending down to drink from a river. All life is connected and I am never alone. I am flooded with gratitude and love. My eyes open. My face is so close to my Royal Shepherd that our foreheads are almost touching. He rises up from his knelt position where he bent down to meet me. He is giving me space to choose if I want to go back to searching for my African family. My trust in him is without bounds. I lean forward into his chest and merge into him. Together we travel out of this field into a tunnel of light.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably does not exist
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes The Great, all-encompassing Heart, of which we can be a direct expression of through free will choose willfulness. God definitely exists.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes I am an empath. The beings on the other side gave me the gift to see people deeply. I see their internal anatomy, their life events, their gifts, and their suffering.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes From my upcoming book about the moment of remembering my purpose :
'My attention is drawn back to Mama Eahton's sounds. She has changed her wailing into singing. The song she is singing is so powerful it is passing through all the veils that have closed behind me in the tunnel. It is reaching me at full volume as if there is no distance. I stop moving forward in the tunnel so I can devote myself to hearing her song. Other voices have joined her voice. This warm tapestry of sound stirs me. I suddenly know she is calling on the Ancestors to make her song so powerful it can find me anywhere. I begin drinking in this choir of Ancestors who have arrived to join her singing. Their sounds include low rich tones, other worldly sweet notes in the mid-range, and high tones so pure they sound like a bell ring that will never end. When I hear this array of sounds, I am filled with tremendous affection for the singers. Their singing stirs something vastly old in me that I did not know I was missing. The songs are calling me back into the stories about events that make life rich: births, healing celebrations, and losses. These singers sound like old friends I recognize and long to reconnect. They are so familiar. I am searching through my memory for when I have heard them sing before. I suddenly remember I have been part of this choir, and I know these songs myself. They live in me also. This recognition is like a trail of quick fire up my center, clearing away the cloud that covered my purpose for living. I was born with the gift to sing to people so they can recognize their whole self, just as Mama Eahton did for me when I first arrived to her, and just as she is doing right now.'
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Uncertain I don't know what you mean by 'life'. Does my soul go on? Yes, of course.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I slightly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Greatly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? Yes I grow tendrils that reach out and touch the long delicate tendrils creatures, and the living walls of this tunnel. I have the ability to connect with every living thing around me. It is curiosity, not effort, which connects me to other living things.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes I learned about my abuse history and that I would still have to fight hard to survive when I came back.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Unknown
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes They speak to me directly in color and sound waves. I can easily understand what they are saying. They give me this message, 'you are made of the same thing we are: goodness. You are from here. We are going to help you purify feelings of being broken so you remember that you are good.' I understand they are emissaries preparing me to move into the Great Heart up ahead. When they move towards me, I expect that they are going to bump into me, but they move through me. I feel seen and entirely accepted. It dawns on me that no one has a solid body, including me. When they come out the other side of me, I feel brighter like clouds moved away from in front of the sun inside my own center.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life I came back to survive another decade of abuse so my answers are relevant to the fact that I was not safe until I left home at age 19.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It has more dimensions than we experience here on earth.
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience. I have been working on my book for over seven years and have devoted myself to the practice of remembering as many details as possible. I have unpacked the experience through writing and drawing.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I am an empath. I hear Sprit talk to me. I Sing the Medicine Song and I hear inside people. I am a Visionary Artist.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? As I focus on him, I can see his outer form and inside of him. In his chest, at heart level, is the most beautiful magic bowl. I turn my body to be directly in front of him. The longer I look at this bowl and what it carries, the wider the bowl becomes. It is filled and overflowing with something magical that moves like water in a circular motion. The motion goes clockwise, the direction of a record on a record player. What overflows from the bowl does not drop down to the ground like water would; it keeps the same circular motion and gets wider and wider until it is well beyond his body. It is so wide now that I am included in the stream of this multicolored shimmering flow. As it moves around me, it washes me. Something like grey mud comes off me. I am scared that it will ruin the cleanliness of his iridescent flow. My grey mud spreads out in the wide circle. By the third time around the circle, I can no longer pick out the grey color from the gleaming flow. This is why he has no need to shun my heartbreak and me. His ability to be clear is much stronger than the grey mud of my difficult emotions. I become calmer and even more accepting of my fear because I am no longer afraid it will burden or harm him. I see with new eyes that he is not an old man. He is ageless like the carved-out stairwell, the cave, and this cliff edge on which we now stand. The rich color of his bronze skin shows me he does not live here in this sunless place. It dawns on me he came here with the sole focus of guiding me. My heart bursts with understanding that he is a hero who helps others through their confusion. He could go anywhere he wanted, and he chose to come here for me. I want to thank him, but I sense he already knows everything I feel. He is my magician. His greatest feat was transforming my fear into acceptance. We are standing on this cliff edge facing each other. He nods his head to the right toward the open space. He is showing me our next step is off the cliff edge. He offers both of his hands to me with his palms open. If I were a newborn baby, I would fit in the cradle of his large hands. I step closer to him. With complete trust, I put my hands in his. My hands look small and perfect in his. We inch our feet toward the edge. I curl my fingers around his and squeeze tight as we leap off the cliff together. We begin falling into black night and total silence. There is great ease in staying together just as when we had our feet on the ground. Now instead of being held steady by the ground, we are surrounded by sky. It does not feel like wild falling, it is peaceful. We have a relationship with every star. Some stars are becoming further away, while others are coming closer. He looks at me with pure love, and with his voice speaking inside me, he tells me, 'This is dying.'
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Almost 30 years
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I had to continue to live through the Rhodesian war, so survival overtook everything.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Because it opened me to whom I am and my entire view of life, I have 13 of the 14 after effects listed by PMH Atwater
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes When I have hugged other NDErs, sometimes I can feel 'home'
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I have been working on my book and my art to share my experience for over 7 years. I encourage everyone who has had a strong STE to write it down to open it up further or have someone interview you for the details.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? It was very good: Just more options on referring to the Divine.
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.