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Fresco of Paul’s Conversion, by Michelangelo  (1542-45) in the Vatican Cappella Paolina (Public Domain)

Near-Death-Experiences Of The Ancients


Socrates, Plato and Aristotle formed a trio toward the middle of the fourth century BC in ancient Greece to become the most well-known philosophers who ever lived. They were the founders of the present-day discipline. Any philosophers who lived before them are called “pre-Socratics.” Most people, even if they know nothing about the field of philosophy, recognize the names of Socrates, his pupil Plato, and Plato’s pupil, Aristotle, who went on to become the private tutor of Alexander the Great.

An elder Plato walks alongside a younger Aristotle, detail of Raphael’s School of Athens (1509 -1511) (Public Domain)

An elder Plato walks alongside a younger Aristotle, detail of Raphael’s School of Athens (1509 -1511) (Public Domain)

Er the Pamphylian

In Plato’s Republic, he mentions a speech by Socrates, in which Socrates remembers the near-death experience of a “warrior bold” who went by the name of Er the Pamphylian.  According to Socrates, Er was killed in battle. Tradition has it that his body was placed on a funeral pyre after a period of some 12 days. Before the fires were lit, however, Er came to life with quite a story to tell. His “ soul went forth from his body” and “ journeyed with a great company” to ‘‘a mysterious region where there were two openings side by side in the earth.” He observed disembodied people traveling up and down in space, depending on the kinds of lives they had lived. After seven days they were told they must journey on, and after another four days they saw “ a straight light like a pillar, most nearly resembling the rainbow, but brighter and purer.”

A Renaissance manuscript Latin translation of Plato’s ‘The Republic’ (Public Domain)

A Renaissance manuscript Latin translation of Plato’s ‘The Republic’ (Public Domain)

This pillar seemed to serve as a kind of hinge or pivot for the entire cosmos. The movements of the stars and planets, as well as the fates of all living beings, revolved around this central pivot. In the words of Socrates, it was if the central pivot was the shaft of a spindle that “ turned on the knees of Ananke,” a goddess who was assisted in her duties by the three Fates; Clotho, Atropos, and Lachesis.

As Er watched, many souls who had died prepared to reincarnate to another life on earth. One man, for instance, had died before experiencing any of the terrors of the Underground. Because he had been rewarded in heaven, he decided to live his next life in complete opposition to his previous one, so he chose to be a powerful dictator.


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Jim Willis is author of 17 books on religion and spirituality, he has been an ordained minister for over 40 years while working part-time as a carpenter, the host of his own drive-time radio show, an arts council director and adjunct college professor in the fields of World Religions and Instrumental Music. He is author of The Wizard in the Wood: A Tale of Magic, Mystery, and Meaning

Top Image: Fresco of Paul’s Conversion, by Michelangelo  (1542-45) in the Vatican Cappella Paolina (Public Domain)

By: Jim Willis



Charles Bowles's picture

CATAIBH,    That was a very interesting statement by you in which you presented an interesting timeline regarding Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome in that order in their relation to their “Unholy” Trinity of the Occultic control of Western history.  As individuals you stated that Socrates taught Plato, who taught Aristle, who taught Alexander the “NOT SO GREAT”.  Learning about Pagan Greece is not understanding humans, nor does it have any relations to the understanding of God.  The Funny thing is that I purchased “Netflix” a few hours ago solely to personally form a better understanding about the “CLEOPATRA” documentary which has caused a lot of UNNECESSARY debate about her Race, and ancient Nationaity, as to who she really REPRESENTED, and I reached the conclusion that ancient Egypt during Queen Cleopatra’s reign was a TOTALLY Independent AFRICAN Country which had absolutely NO TIES TO GREECE during that time.  The Roman invasion of an INDEPENDENT AFRICAN NATION named EGYPT was a direct attack on Egypt itself, and had absolutely NOTHING to do with ancient GREECE, as if Egypt was a colony or province of an INDEPENDENT Egypt ha ha ha..   THe only relation that Egypt had with GREECE was from the earlier invasion around 300 BCE which was nearly 300 years before Cleopatra was born, and by that time there was no GREEK Powers subjugating the ancient INDEPENDENT African country of Egypt.  It appears that Cleopatra NEVER sat her feet on the land of ancient Greece, but did travel to Rome, even gave birth to a child fathered by Julius Caesar before he was murdered, and later gave birth to twins, and a third child fathered by “ANTHONY”  before he was murdered by Octavius.  So it appears that Cleopatra had a GREEK Name “Ptolemy” which gave name to her Dynasty “Ptolemaic”,but that Dynasty was indeed a Egyptian dynasty with a GREEK name, which totally ASSIMILATED to the ancient EGYPTIAN CULTURE,and were therefore, culturally African Egyptians, and not a GREEK NATIONALITY, and being a Greek does ot always mean “White People”, since the original “FIRST” Greek civilization was indeed founded by VERY DARK SKIN Minoans who were painted with a skin color of Fudge Chocolate, o coffee latte, which was not a so-call Suntanned white people ha ha..  Very good documentary, and I really did enjoy the 4 part series that ran in 40+ minutes intervals and kept me up all morning for several hours, since i refused to stop at series 1 or 2 and watch the others later.  .  

Charles Bowles

Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome are the Unholy Trinity of the Occultic control of Western history.

Socrates taught Plato, who taught Aristotle, who taught Alexander the Not So Great...

Success on the battlefield is not greatness as a man. It never has been and never will be.

Learning about Pagan Greece is not understanding mankind. Nor is it a way to understand God.

jim willis's picture


After graduating from the Eastman School of Music, Jim Willis became a high school band and orchestra teacher during the week, a symphony trombonist on the weekends, a jazz musician at night and a choral conductor on Sunday mornings. ... Read More

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