Zerdin Phenomenal Book Review
“The Risen: Dialogues of Love, Grief & Survival Beyond Death” by August Goforth & Timothy Gray. Paperback. 315 Pages. £15.50 Tempestina Teapot Books (available from Amazon.com).By Graham JenningsThe purport of The Risen is scientific, but the inspiration is pure love: the love between August Goforth on this side of life and Timothy Gray on the other.The Risen of the title are what August’s inspirers from the Spirit World call themselves. (They prefer it to spirit.) August – that is the name they bestowed on him – is a New York psychotherapist. He is also a mental and psychophysical medium, but keeps his spiritual work separate from his medical practice.In “The Risen”, August tells how Timothy passed with AIDS. Described as being more like mischievous boys than adults, Timothy always had the capacity to surprise him. Not even August though expected a surprise from him after death.Then one night it happened. Alone and typing a manuscript, a sudden movement caught his eye. He glanced at the bed a few feet away. “And there was Tim – sitting on the bed, a huge grin on his face, his legs crossed at the ankles and hands calmly folded in his lap!”That was only the beginning. Soon Tim was communicating information of the most detailed and scientific nature, though always on a personal level of love and understanding. He is the spokesman for a group on the other side calling itself The Risen Collective, an organization of educators, scientists, healers, philosophers and artists from Earth and other dimensions. Beyond them is The Risen Assembly, described as “an even higher-vibrating gathering.”The introductory chapters describe August’s and Tim’s inseparable relationship, but by chapter 4 we are into science in earnest.For instance, everyone who hears of the Spirit World has an instinctive question: where is it? As Spiritualists we know that it exists, but cannot say where. We know it interpenetrates our world and is all around us. Yet we cannot say how. How then, our critics ask, can more than one object occupy the same space? It is impossible!In the Thirties, scientists became aware of ‘dark matter’ in the universe, and in the Nineties of ‘dark energy’. This is significant because it appears to fill the universe, or rather the 90 percent that is not measurable in purely physical terms.‘Dark’ is a misleading term – it is possible to see in the dark – but is our ubiquitous term ‘spirit’ any better? As yet, there is no adequate vocabulary to describe the phenomenon of dark energy-matter, but this is how it appears to operate.Dark-energy particles, unlike the atoms that are the building blocks of physical matter, have no electrical charge. For this reason they are unable to interact with ordinary matter via electro-magnetic forces. They do, however, appear to interact with each other, through some as-yet-unknown force.They can be detected only indirectly, yet dark energy-matter apparently has mass. This is revealed by its gravitational effect on visible matter. Because it has no electrical charge, and no interaction with physical matter, it can occupy the same space as physical matter, or pass through it. (It passes through the Earth itself, and us, every second.)Scientists now reckon it is the dominant substance of the universe. “If visible matter,” writes August, “is just 10 per cent of what we can see, then what is the other 90 per cent? Is dark-matter energy also spirit energy? The Risen response is: ‘Yes, and a whole lot more.’”If there is no electrical charge to these particles, there are no electromagnetic waves and so no visible light, hence their apparent invisibility. As without a charge, there is nothing to prevent them occupying the same space as a charged particle, the implications are limitless. “We have the possibility,” declares August, “of substances, forms, people, planets, entire galaxies and universes interpenetrating one another, and simultaneously existing in the same place.”Furthermore, this dark energy-matter appears to have existed before what scientists call the Big Bang. This is the initial event that brought charged, visible, apparently solid matter – and ultimately our physical bodies – into existence.It also appears that it is with this same dark energy-matter that mediums work. “Having gained a self-awareness,” adds August – a medium himself remember – “of their own subtle bodies and subtle sense, they are able to see hear, touch, and take part in realities –or fields – that interpenetrate our material one.”The scientific content may seem a bit daunting, but as I said above, it is presented in a highly personal context. Moreover, without such an intense personal relationship and all-abiding love, such an extraordinary, lengthy and informative communication could not have taken place.Tim’s passing from AIDS, and the termination of a beautiful friendship, appears to us in the material world as a tragedy. Yet to the more spiritually discerning, The Risen is a triumph of love, dedication and every nobler attribute of which humankind is capable.