Across the Universe
Spiritual Medium James Van Praagh
Interview by Lauri Lyons
The veteran spiritual medium and clairvoyant, James Van Praagh, gives us the low down on the afterlife.
What is your interpretation of the soul and how does it relate to our bodies?
James Van Praagh: A soul is separate from the human traits that we take on. The soul is the life, the part of us that will be around until the end of time. It’s our makeup, the essence of ourselves. The human part of us, this human shell, really is just that. It takes on the types of traits such as criticism and judgment, abandonment, commitment issues, things like that. Its experiences move it forward to grow. The spirit is the soul’s animation, like the breath of life.
What inspired you to start traveling to do spiritual work?
I used to bring groups of people to spiritual places. The very first trip I went on was to Brazil. I wanted to bring a group of thirty people down there. Then I went to Sedona in Arizona. That’s how I first started. Then my book started selling internationally and the publishers sent me to do workshops in different countries. I went to Brazil, Japan, Australia, and Germany. I really get out there to do my work and teach people. I’m first and foremost a teacher. People know me from all over the world, so it gives them a chance to see me.
Do you think nations and borders are real?
No. In the reality of everything, we are all one. We are all connected. When we pass over, one of the first things we realize is that we have a cord connected to the human tapestry. The first big illusion we have is about death. There is no such thing as death. The second big illusion is that we are separate. We really are not separate, we’re connected, we share the same energy. When you pass over you will see all the good and bad you did to another person. Through this human tapestry you will see and feel, all the energy you gave out. We’re all connected. It’s going to get better as we’re getting closer. Social media and the Supreme Court ruling (legalizing gay marriage) really made a difference around the world. I do believe it’s slowly becoming more of a global community. There’s a lot more we have in common, than we don’t have in common.
Why did you pick Brazil for your first trip?
I really do think Brazil is one of the most spiritual places in the world. Brazil is a place where mediums are normal, and everywhere else it’s not. So I feel right at home there. Spiritualism is normal. It’s America that’s so backwards because they’ve built up such a strong Judeo-Christian background, that it holds back.
Every city you go to, every country, they’re all different. They all have different vibrations and frequencies, which means their mindsets are all very different. I go to Australia and the questions they ask are way beyond anything they ask in America. They will ask, “ What soul group do I belong to? What level of awareness do I belong to?” Stuff like that, you don’t get asked in America. When you go to Italy and Germany, the audiences there are really tough to work with. They’re very, very reserved and closed down. In America it’s the opposite, they’re very open and enthusiastic. In European countries, you can materialize spirit right in front of them, and they still wouldn’t believe it. They’re very tough.
When spirits communicate with you, do their tones shift as you go to different places?
Oh, yes, very much so. It’s easier for me to read in California, Arizona, and Chicago. New York is hard, but it works. Ohio is very strange and complex. The Midwestern area isn’t that great, except for Chicago. Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas are fine. Canada was great and very, very, open. The people are not necessarily educated about it, but have the enthusiasm to be. Germany is opening up, but 35 years ago it was very, very, difficult to get in there, but now it’s going like gangbusters. The problem with England is that there are so many mediums there. It’s such a small island, so mediums are always bumping into each other. France still needs to get open. Italy is opening up.
What is astral traveling?
You do it every night when you go to sleep. We are a souls existing in a physical body. What happens at night is that our souls will leave our physical body, usually by the head, crown chakra, or the chest. What happens is you will ease out of the human body, then rush back into the body.
In the spiritual dimensions that are all around us, you see your loved ones, you see your teachers, you see friends, you see things of the future, things you’re going to be working on. Then later on in life you may think, “Oh my God, it’s déjà vu!”, because you probably dreamt about it in the inbetween state.
You can learn to consciously leave your body in astral projection. It’s getting your soul self out of the body and being completely aware that you’re out of the body. People leave their body every day without being conscious of it. That happens quite often. You know, when you’re out walking your dog, and thinking of something else. If you’re driving your car and get off the wrong exit. If you’re reading a book and don’t know what you just read, you’re out of the body. You’re not in your conscious awareness. You’re not aware of where you are at that moment, because you just left your body and came back in. Another real interesting thing for you to know is that 20% of us are in the body at any time and 80% of us is out of the body at anytime. Is that a mind bender? We’re more soul than we are human body.
What do you think the 80% is doing outside of the body?
Oh, I think that’s part of our soul and I think we exists on many levels. Our higher self, our soul self, is living on a higher frequency. I think that that level is a lot easier than the one we’re living in. It’s kind of like a staircase and at the bottom of the staircase is the human world, and at the top of the staircase, the other part of us is there. I think there are many levels to us and different things are going on at all different times. You can be several places all at once. You can do different things all at once. When the brain dies at death and you leave the human shell, the mind travels on, you go out. You go back to the awareness that you are a soul being, and you’re so much greater than you thought you were.
Why do people sometimes have a very strong desire to visit certain places and eventually end up going there?
Let’s say there’s the higher self (that’s really the true self), and they’re with you and looking down. Your higher self probably got you there. If you need to get there, you will eventually get there, they will bring you there. Whether it be for a resolution in your past life, or understanding something in this life.
You can have past life experiences in dreams. You may also be walking around and realize that you know a certain language. You may see a certain food or person and think, “I know you. I like this so much”. You feel a connection. That’ll happen, because we’ve all walked around here thousands and thousands of times before.
I was able to see my true self in Brazil, during an ayahuasca ceremony, and it was unbelievable. I’ll never do it again, but it was unbelievable.
Have you met people that just innately know another language?
It’s called xenoglossy, a phenomenon in which a person is able to speak or write a language, he or she could not have acquired by natural means.I know that exists without a doubt. I have clients with that. They are souls who come back from a past life, and probably spent that life in another country. Sometimes I will be talking and all of a sudden I start speaking Italian or German, but I never learned Italian or German. The words make sense, but I don’t know where I got them from. It’s definitely from experiences my soul previously had.
What are some of your favorite spiritual places?
The energy vortexes in Sedona are incredible. I also go to regular spaces which are just very natural, like the Amalfi Coast in Italy is incredible, the Napa Sonoma wine country in California, is fantastic. Greece is phenomenal. Santorini is one of the most spiritual places around, and is believed to be a part of Atlantis.
You are organizing spiritual cruises to Tahiti?
Tahiti is Heaven on Earth. I’m going there July 2016. It’s really like going to another world. I’ve been there three times and I will be hosting a group of thirty people. We’re gonna rent a private ship, and do outdoor meditations on the water. Part of the trip is a floating séance. Whenever you’re around water, water is a conductor of energy. When you do work on water, it enhances the experience. In many ways, the guests receive the information easier.
It really gets deeper and deeper. People have transformational experiences on these cruises. They get married, they meet best friends for life, they change jobs. All these different things happen that transform them. A lot of healing takes place.We teach people, but they’re also resting.
I started doing spiritual tours twenty years ago. My first cruise was to Mexico and then we went back and forth to Greece, Europe, the Caribbean, and Alaska. Now we cruise to Tahiti.
How do you spiritually prepare yourself to be in large public spaces like cruise ships or airports?
When I learned to be a medium, I learned how to open myself up energetically and how to close myself down energetically, because you have to. There are chakra centers, which you can open (or have an awareness of) when you’re working and close them down when you’re not working. For example, in the shower I can close my eyes and I clean myself physically.
I can also clean myself spiritually, mentally and emotionally. To do that I imagine the water in the shower is a golden light, illuminating every cell and muscle. Any energy left over goes down the drain, past the tips of your toes. Then I get to a point when I feel balanced. I say, “May God be before me and show me the way”. Then I wrap myself in light. Then I really surround myself with love. Light attracts light, so you will attract those to you, with a loving vibration. That’s what I do before leaving the house.
What kinds of surprising personal experiences have you had with local healers?
I went to see mediums in the Frei Luiz Center, outside of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. There are 200 mediums who sit together every Saturday morning in a room. It’s very quiet and you have to wear white clothes. It’s a school hall they reserve for physical mediumship, which means all the mediums sit together for five hours, singing songs in contemplation.
What happens next is, a substance comes out of the medium’s noses, ears or mouths. This happened to me as well. You can actually see the mist and vapors coming out. Believe it or not, the substance that comes out of the mediums, forms a doctor a surgeon on stage. You see the form of a physical phenomenon, a physical person.
Next they bring in the sickest kids from an adoption agency. They bring in four kids at a time on a bed, and put them on the stage. The doctor (formed from vapors) moves from one child to the other. They do this work for about an hour. Then they release the kids.
I was there in the audience thinking, “I would love to get this going”, but I didn’t say anything. Next thing you know, one of the guys comes up to me and he says, “Your turn”. So I went up there and laid down, and I’m like, “Oh my God! oh my God! oh my God!”
I had an ulcer at the time, but I didn’t tell anybody. This guy (the spirit doctor) comes over to me and I begin to feel up this spirit, like, “Is it real or is it not real?” I was very skeptical, but he was solid. He took a rainbow type of instrument and he went right over to my stomach, where the ulcer was, and then left in a second. He was gone and I felt like I’d been operated on for eight hours.
I got up and went back to the offices, where they have a kitchen and make nice soups and cakes. I felt like I had surgery, but I never again had any problems with ulcers. They were gone. It was pretty amazing. That was at the Frei Luiz Center outside of Rio. There’s more magic in the world than we know.
Why do you consider planet Earth to be the “school of hard knocks” ?
It’s a really, really, hard place. Some souls come back to the Earth that are very unevolved. There are souls that do nursery work school, that maybe still believe in violence, guns, and killing people. Then there are evolved souls who are like light workers – post graduates who respect life, kindness, and treating each other the way they want to be treated. Then there’s all that in between. All of that forces various scenarios to occur.
Depending on ourselves, our spiritual selves, and our relation with the soul, we can enter into situations, better or worse. That’s very hard because innately we know what is right and wrong. We cross the street, it’s a red light, and we get hit by a car. The same thing kind of thing happens with the soul. When you go through an experience in a lifetime and you know “No, I should not do this. This is wrong for me.” It kind of builds and builds. You’ll take the same lessons from one lifetime to the next, until you perfect the lesson.
You tend to go back to Earth in soul groups. You go back in the same group families and friends. You take on different roles each time. Just like Shakespeare said, “The world is a stage, we’re merely players upon it.” When your turn is over, you leave the stage. You go back behind the stage and maybe help out, watch the rest of the show, or wait for them to take their final bow. It’s sort of like that.
With all of these experiences and things that you’ve seen, does Spirit still blow your mind?
Oh yeah, for sure. Even the work that I do, it’s always a miracle. When it’s not a miracle, I’ll stop working. The information, healing, and miracle, that comes through is just phenomenal. I think we’ve always gotta be in wonder. When it’s not like that, I’ll stop doing the work.
James Van Praagh is an American clairvoyant and spiritual medium, a New York Times best selling author, and Executive TV producer of the NBC series Ghost Whisperer. James recently launched the online James Van Praagh School of Mystical Arts.