The Book that started it all: Letters from Summerland
Around fall time of last year, I read a book called Letters from Summerland: A bridge between the worlds, by Marian Young Starnes. At the time of reading the book, I had been on my spiritual journey for a few months after deciding that Christianity was not for me. I wanted healing and a deeper connection with God and with Christianity, I felt like I was being brainwashed. I wanted to have the opportunity to learn, grow, and explore things that I had little to no previous knowledge of. I did not want to receive the same message in a different form every year. I got bored because what worked for me previously no longer fit the puzzle.
I found myself no longer wanting to worry about whether or not I was going to get into heaven because of some bad deed that I had done. I wanted more than that. I wanted to learn more about the afterlife and what it truly is. I had so many lingering questions. What was it? Do we really live on after death? Do we have souls? What is a soul? Are we somehow connected to the afterlife? In what ways are we connected to it? What happens when we get there?
After years of Starnes book sitting on a shelf in my living room, untouched and unread, my mother finally gave me the book that pushed me into the spiritual journey that I am on now.
*Photos by Asia Hanon of Letters from Summerland: A Bridge Between The Worlds by Marian Young Starnes*
About No Grave Will Ever Contain You
Starnes begins the book with her first childhood memory of communicating with the dead. She titles this "No Grave Will Ever Contain You". Starnes is thirteen years old and is at her grandmother's funeral. She is watching the casket being lowered into the grave when she hears her name being whispered. She hears her name again " Marian, over here " (pg.5) She looks up and sees her grandmother, plane as day standing in the middle of the cemetery, in the exact same dress that she was buried in moments earlier.
She looks away from the apparition of her grandmother and back to the burial. Marian is in shock. Her grandmother then tells her...
"I am not there. Just as no grave will ever contain you. I am not there"
Being someone who believed that existence of a soul, I had an understanding of this quote. I believe that when we die, only the body dies but not our essence. We continue to live on outside of the body in which we are able to achieve full enlightenment. Hans Holzer, who is considered to be the first paranormal investigator, mentioned this very concept in his book Ghosts: True Encounters With The World Beyond, another book that I will also write on.
Hans referred to the soul living on after death as immortality, in which he states "An increasing number of people throughout the world have at one time or another encountered personal proof of man's immortality." (pg.14) At first, I thought that this was kind of an extreme look onto things but I realized that Hans was onto something. So as a somewhat good researcher I am, I decided to look up the definition of Immortality which reads below
Immortal condition or quality; unending of life.
concept of eternal life
The ability to live forever; eternal life
The definition that stuck out to me the most was The ability to live forever.
It seems that Hans was not too far off. Matter of fact he was spot on. The same immortality that Hans speaks on is his book is the same thing that Starnes speaks on in her book.
* Photo by Asia Hanon of picture in family album*
More About Letters from Summerland
In the next few pages over, Marian remembers her paranormal experience as a little girl. She asks herself this question
"Where Have They Gone?"
She wondered what happened to family and friends when the passed onto the other side. This was almost the same question that I asked myself before reading her book.
What Happens When We Pass? and What Happens When We Get to The After Life?
And so...her search was on
If you go a few pages over, you will see a page titled Letters From Summerland.
Summerland is what Marian referred to the afterlife or the place that spirits dwelled after their time on earth.
*Photo by Asia Hanon of page from Letters From Summerland*
It is important to note a little about Marian Young Starnes.
The first thing is that Marian Young Starnes was a medium and minister.
Her book, Letters from Summerland: A Bridge Between the Worlds is a Biography filled with Automatic writings. She wrote this book in hopes of answering some of the lingering questions we have about life after death.
Before writing her book, Starnes had been grieving over the death of her husband James who had recently passed.
*Photo by Barbara C. Taylor of Marian Young Starnes*
Letters from Summerland are the letters and writings written by Marian after James death. She had been channeling him through her mediumship in these writings. Their connection had survived even through death.
In most of the writings, James speaks on the connection between himself and Marian. He repeatedly tells her to let him in. What he means is Marian needs to be open to the existence of spirits. She also needs to become aware of James' presence and not be afraid whenever she feels his energy in the room. Now, as a person who is not a medium, I felt that this was already a tough and scary task to do.
It is scary to acknowledge something that does not physically manifests itself into your reality. Something that is clearly unexplained and unpredictable. Something that is risky. And even though our acknowledgement that there is an afterlife is all of these things, scary, risky, unexplained, and unpredictable, it can be something beautiful, memorable, and filled with a beautiful melancholy.
It can help us understand that our loved ones who pass from this realm, never truly die but live on in the afterlife. The reader will see this continued connection between loved passed loved ones and those that are still on earth through Marian's writings.
In some of the writings she would ask James questions and through automatic writing, James would respond. There was one question Marian asks James that I found intriguing, which states
Marian:....."I'm puzzled about desire and feelings between people who exist on different planes. Would you comment on this, please?
James: I am also impelled to try to talk about desire on my side of the veil. When I am near you, and you are receptive to me, I do feel desire. A deep longing to merge with you overwhelms me, and generally, I am aware your feel the same.
...A longing that can only be fulfilled by union with one's other half.
James also describes the afterlife in the same writing entry.
James: ...."I am getting stronger every day, and my joy grows by leaps and bounds!...We don't have seasons here, so it is always fresh, green, and bountiful flowers beyond words to describe...There are perfect crystal formations everywhere, as common as gravel is on earth. The sun strikes them and rainbow colors flash in all directions. I found a lovely woodland park today, and sat for a long time beside a sparkling waterfall. The songs of the birds were lovely! I felt as if I had somehow been led there for more healing, even though I was alone."
In the next few pages, James talks about the journey to enlightenment being continued after death. He tells Marian that everyone is seeking to be completely " ...healed, and reconnected with my own Divine Essence" (pg.55) James says that once a person is completely healed in the afterlife, they will be able to journey to higher planes where they will be with the Great Masters, eventually until they become one with God, whom I consider to be the Great Divine Essence or Energy.
There are other things that James writes about the afterlife, but I will not spoil everything... At least not yet... just in case anyone wants to read it. The book can be ordered on Amazon, and I will link the URL to the first image of the book.
Anyways I hope this blog was not too long and let me know if you want to know more about this book and Marian Young Starnes.