Babies are born into this world with an umbilical cord connecting them to the life-giving source of their mother which is disconnected after birth. People die and enter the spirit world with an “umbilical-like cord” connecting their spirit body to the life-giving source of their physical body which is disconnected after death. Many near-death and out-of-body experiencers have described seeing this “umbilical-like” cord connecting their spirit body to their physical body. Many religious traditions also describe this spirit-body connecting cord which is commonly known as the “silver cord.” Just as the baby’s umbilical cord must be severed for the baby to experience life, the silver cord must be severed for the spirit body to experience spiritual life. It is believed that the near-death experience does not involve the silver cord becoming severed; otherwise, the near-death experience would then become irreversible bodily death.
Table of Contents
- Introduction to the silver cord
- The religious significance of the silver cord
- Near-death experiences and the silver cord
- Locations on the body where the silver cord is connected
- Locations on the body where the spirit re-enters in NDEs
- The connection between the chakras, the silver cord, and the afterlife realms
1. Introduction to the silver cord
The silver cord has been described as being smooth, very long, very bright, like an elastic cable made of light, about an inch wide, sparkling like a tinsel on a Christmas tree, and attached to one of several possible locations on the physical body. During the dying process, as the spirit body leaves the physical body and moves farther away it, the silver cord becomes thinner as it is stretched to its limit and becomes severed. When this occurs, the spirit body is released from being attached to the physical body. At this point, it becomes impossible for the spirit body to ever return to the physical body. For this reason, we can define “irreversible death” as that point when the silver cord becomes stretched to its limit and severed. This is the so-called “point of no return.” This boundary point may also be accompanied by the appearance of a particular landmark representing a boundary such as a river, a wall, a fence, or a canyon. Once this barrier is crossed, the near-death experience becomes an irreversible death experience.
Many experiencers have felt the pull of the silver cord when it is stretched near its limit. They often describe the experience as being instantly retracted to their physical body – like stretching a rubber band to near its limit and then releasing one end of it.
This silver cord is our spirit body’s “lifeline” to our physical body in the same way that our umbilical cord is our “lifeline” to our mother’s body during the birth process.
During the death process, should the physical body be subjected to a violent death, such as in a severe car accident, the silver cord is severed before the impact preventing the pain that is experienced by the physical body from being felt by the spirit body.
The existence of the silver cord is even mentioned in the Bible:
“Remember him – before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7)
2. The religious significance of the silver cord
From the notes of the Episcopal Daily Lectionaries Online website, comes this translation:
“The golden bowl suspended by the silver cord was a symbol of life; the snapping of the cord and the breaking of the bowl, a symbol of death. The pitcher … the broken pulley: another pair of metaphors for life and its ending.”
From the editorial pages of the Christadelphian Tidings website, comes this translation of the silver cord and golden bowl:
“Verse 6 appears to use two metaphors to speak of death. The first is of a silver chord and a golden bowl most likely the bowl was used as an oil light, suspended by a chord. Dying is compared to the breaking of this chord and the crashing of the bowl down to the ground, whereupon it shatters and its light is extinguished. Second, death is compared to a pitcher used to draw water at a well. Death is like the breaking of this pitcher and the pulley which was used to let it down. No more water can be drawn; death has conquered.
“It is interesting that both of these images, the symbols of water and light, are used elsewhere in the scriptures as metaphors for life. The consequence of this termination of life is the decaying process by which the dust returns to the earth. The spirit, in a reversal of Genesis 2, “returns unto God who gave it.” This is what death is all about: the shattering of all man’s hope, and the cessation of everything that he was and stood for.”
3. Near-death experiences and the silver cord
The following are insights concerning the silver cord from NDErs profiled on this website.
Edgar Cayce’s encounter with the Angel of Death: While preparing to undergo one of his otherworldly journeys, Edgar Cayce had lost consciousness and had a dream. Usually, he would travel through a tunnel toward the light. But in this instance, he met the Angel of Death and learned about the silver cord. The following is his experience described in his own words:
“As I went out, I realized that I had contacted Death, as a personality, as an individual or as a being. Realizing this, I remarked to Death: ‘You are not as ordinarily pictured – with a black mask or hood, or as a skeleton, or like Father Time with the sickle. Instead, you are fair, rose-cheeked, robust – and you have a pair of shears or scissors.'”
“In fact, I had to look twice at the feet or limbs, or even at the body to see it take shape.
The Angel of Death replied: “Yes, Death is not what many seem to think. It’s not the horrible thing which is often pictured. Just a change – just a visit. The shears or scissors are indeed the implements most representative of life and death to man. These indeed unite by dividing – and divide by uniting. The cord does not, as usually thought, extend from the center – but is broken from the head, the forehead – that soft portion we see pulsate in the infant.
“Hence we see old people, unbeknown to themselves, gain strength from youth by kissing there; and youth gains wisdom by such kisses.
“Indeed the vibrations may be raised to such an extent as to rekindle or reconnect the cord, even as the Master did with the son of the widow of Nain. For he did not take him by the hand (which was bound to the body as was the custom of the day), but rather stroked him on the head – and the body took life of Life itself! So, you see, the silver cord may be broken – but the vibration …'” (Edgar Cayce)
“I saw a long silver cord coming out of my spirit body, right through the cheese cloth-like fabric I was wearing. The cord extended down and out in front of me, and as I turned around, I saw that the silver cord draped around and behind me, like an umbilical cord. I followed it through the two hallway walls and into my den, where I saw it attached to the back of the head of my physical body. The cord was about an inch wide and sparkled like Christmas tree tinsel! … As soon as I saw that silver cord was attached to my physical body, my spirit was thrust into a dark tunnel.” (Dr. Dianne Morrissey)
PMH Atwater’s NDE research: In PMH Atwater’s book, Beyond the Light, the near-death account of Alice Morrison-Mays is given. Alice described her return to her physical body from a near-death experience. She remembers entering her physical body through the silver cord:
“Almost instantly I felt reentry into my body through the silver cord at the top of my head. There was something akin to a physical bump. As soon as I entered, I heard someone near me say, ‘Oh, we’ve got her back.’ I was told I had two pieces of placenta as large as grapefruits removed.” (Alice Morrison-Mays)
Susan Blackmore’s OBE: Susan Blackmore, a former parapsychologist with heavy skeptical leanings, is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on OBEs and NDEs. She herself had an OBE while attending Oxford University during the early 1970s. By her own admission she “spent much of the time stoned, experimenting with different drugs.”
During her first year at Oxford she had a OBE after several hours on the Ouija board while stoned on marijuana. The experience also occurred during a period of her life when sleep deprivation was common for her. She describes herself as having been in “a fairly peculiar state of mind” when she had the OBE.
During her OBE, Blackmore went down a tunnel of trees toward a light, floated on the ceiling and observed her body below, saw a silver cord connecting her floating astral body, floated out of the building around Oxford and then over England, and finally across the Atlantic to New York.
After hovering around New York, Blackmore floated back to her room in Oxford where she became very small and entered her body’s toes. Then she grew very big, as big as a planet at first, and then she filled the solar system and finally she became as large as the universe.
Dr. Sam Parnia’s NDE research: A patient of Dr. Parnia was 2 years old when he had a seizure and his heart stopped. His parents contacted Dr. Parnia after the boy drew a picture of himself as if out of his body looking down at himself.
“It was drawn like there was a balloon stuck to him. When they asked what the balloon was he said, “When you die you see a bright light and you are connected to a cord.
“He wasn’t even three when had the experience,” Parnia said. (Dr. Sam Parnia)
Sylvan Muldoon’s childhood OBE: Sylvan Muldoon’s first conscious projection occurred when he was 12 years old. He awoke in the middle of the night to find himself conscious, but not knowing where he was, and apparently unable to move, a condition he later called astral catalepsy.
Gradually the sensation of floating took over, and then a rapid up-and-down vibration and a tremendous pressure in the back of his head. Out of this nightmare of sensations the boy’s hearing gradually began to return and then his sight, by which he could see that he was floating in the room above his bed.
Some force took hold of him and pulled him from horizontal to vertical. He saw his double lying quietly asleep on the bed, and between the two of them stretched an elastic-like cable which joined the back of the head of his conscious self, to a spot between the eyes of the body in bed, six feet of so away.
Swaying and pulling against the cord, Muldoon tried to walk to another room to wake someone, but found that he passed right through the door, and through the bodies of other sleepers too, when he tried to shake or clutch them. Frightened, he roamed around the house for what seemed like fifteen minutes, and then slowly the pull of the cord increased and he found himself being pulled back to his body. Everything went in reverse. He tipped back to horizontal, again became cataleptic, felt the same vibrations and then, with a jerk, dropped back into the body. He was awake and alive again. (Sylvan Muldoon)
Caroline Graham’s NDE: “I was suddenly floating above my body, with a strange cord attaching me and my physical body. I had read about that and so I knew it was normal. I started to float around after practice, mostly around my basement. So I went upstairs to see if any one was there, and I found my sister in the kitchen, I touched her face and she looked straight at me.
“I thought for a moment she had seen me. But she walked right through me and turned up the thermostat. That’s when I realized my cord was gone! Not even a whist of it was left. So I thought about reconnecting with my body to go back but nothing happened. I knew for sure I was stuck. Gone. No one would know what happened to me!
“I went back down to the basement to see what I looked like from the outside. There he sat. The most beautiful man I had ever seen. He motioned for me to come toward him and so I did. He told me to float just above my body and he would help me. I laid there and suddenly I felt as if I was being pulled back down into my body. Before I could thank him I woke up … I knew I had met an angel.” (Caroline Graham)
Divine Inspiration’s OBE Research: A boy, woke up and got out of bed during the night. Whilst walking along a hallway he became “aware that something was amiss.” On turning around and looking back toward the way he had come he saw what appeared to be a thin cord of light leading from him back to his bedroom. Naturally concerned, he followed the cord back to his bedroom only to discover that he was still asleep in his bed. He had no recollection of how he returned to his physical body.
The above is a typical example of an out-of-body experience during sleep, which, happens to everyone. The one unusual aspect of this case is that the boy woke up whilst he was astral traveling and became alarmed. (Divine Inspirations’ research)
“The silver cord protects us in many ways. At the time of a violent death, like a severe auto accident, the silver cord is severed before impact so the person will feel no pain. That really brought a lot of comfort to me to know that my son did not feel pain at the time of his death. During the dying process, the cord becomes thinner to where it finally is severed. The soul is released.” (Debbie Doe)
“When I had my first child I had the experience of being out of my body and hovering above it attached to a thick cord.” (Mrs. Walters)
“It was literally so bright that I could not sustain the gaze so I turned away. At that moment I noticed a silver cord, attached around the navel area going down, down, down to a person I saw lying on my bed. It was me! I had a curious non-interest in it.” (Joni Maggie)
4. Locations on the body where the silver cord is connected
During an OBE or NDE, experiencers see their silver cord attached to the following locations on their physical body:
a. Attached to their FOREHEAD:
“The cord does not, as usually thought, extend from the center – but is broken from the head, the forehead – that soft portion we see pulsate in the infant. Hence we see old people, unbeknown to themselves, gain strength from youth by kissing there; and youth gains wisdom by such kisses.” (Edgar Cayce)
“He saw his double lying quietly asleep on the bed, and between the two of them stretched an elastic-like cable which joined the back of the head of his conscious self, to a spot between the eyes of the body in bed, six feet of so away.” (Sylvan Muldoon)
b. Attached to the BACK of their HEAD:
“I followed it [the cord] through the two hallway walls and into my den, where I saw it attached to the back of the head of my physical body.”(Dr. Dianne Morrissey)
c. Attached to the TOP of their HEAD:
“Almost instantly I felt reentry into my body through the silver cord at the top of my head.” (Alice Morrison-Mays)
d. Attached to their CHEST:
Alfred Ballabene’s NDE: “Out of the body, at a distance of about 1m or 1.5m I turned around, face to the physical body. As usual in near-body distance I was without visual perception and in absolute darkness. Feeling a touch on my breast I reached out for it and felt something with smooth surface formed like a cone, diameter at the basis (breast) ca. 15 – 20cm, getting smaller to a diameter of about 5cm at a body-distance of about 30cm. At this diameter (5cm) it transformed to a cord, leading in direction of the physical body. In all other OBE’s of the type of “stepping-out-in-trance” I paid no attention to the silver cord, but at a certain distance (ca. 50m) I felt a pull. Then I was stopped as if tied and fixed at my backside. Instantly I was retracted to the physical body. This happened very often and reduced my expeditions to a short duration, frustrating me.”(Alfred Ballabene)
e. Attached to their ABDOMEN:
“At that moment I noticed a silver cord, attached around the navel area going down, down, down to a person I saw lying on my bed. It was me! I had a curious non-interest in it.” (Joni Maggi)
f. Attached to their BACK:
(More experiences coming soon.)
5. Locations on the body where the spirit re-enters in NDEs
Many near-death and out-of-body experiencers have described leaving and entering their physical bodies at a particular location on their physical body. Not everyone leaves and enters their physical body at the same location. These are the main locations on the physical body that I have across in my research:
a. Experiencers who left and/or re-entering through the TOP of their HEAD
“At that point I felt something leave my body. It was a whoosh. It went up through the top of my head. I could feel it and I could hear it. Just a gentle whoosh. At that point I found myself standing in a kind of gray mist. Then I knew I had died.” (Jayne Smith)
“I felt as if I were coming loose from my body! While I believed that my body was me, I knew instinctively that if I separated from it, I’d be dead! My soul and body started separating again and continued to separate until I felt a short, sharp pain in my heart, which felt as if something had been torn loose. Then slowly and softly I rose out through the top of my head.” (Arthur Yensen)
“The next thing I recall was the sound: It was a Natural “D.” As I listened to the sound, I felt it was pulling me out of the top of my head. The further out of my body I got, the more clear the tone became. I had the impression it was like a road, a frequency that you go on … I remember seeing several things in the operating room when I was looking down.” (Pam Reynolds)
“I was up all night using drugs. I overdosed and went into convulsions. Just before it hit me, I shot out of the top of my head and lingered only moments while everyone freaked out. Then I was in a dark cobblestone tunnel that seemed wet. I was a sphere illuminating everything around me.” (MaryJane)
b. Experiencers who left and/or re-entering through their CHEST
“I heard a soft buzzing sound in my head and continued to sink until I felt my body become still and lifeless. Then I felt a surge of energy. It was almost as if I felt a pop or release inside me, and my spirit was suddenly drawn out through my chest and pulled upward, as if by a giant magnet. My first impression was that I was free. There was nothing unnatural about the experience.” (Betty Eadie)
Margaret Birkin’s NDE: “One evening, I had an experience of the most incredible feeling. It felt as if every nerve in my body was alive with energy. This was accompanied by the most wonderful feeling of bliss. As the feeling enveloped me, I found myself leaving my body. I found myself in my own chest area looking up at what I knew was my crown chakra. I could see a light ahead of me. All of a sudden I became frightened to move. I actually thought I was dying, and for a few seconds, I fought the sensation. I was describing to Peter what I was going through. I was still physically there in body, but my soul, spirit, whatever you want to call it, was no longer there. I was within my own chest cavity.” (Margaret Birkin)
Michael’s NDE: “And then something exited my chest. Its hard to describe exactly what it was or what it felt like but it was a real presence, a definite feeling. Perhaps terms like “life force” or “energy” come closest to trying to describe what it was, but it seemed to contain my personality as well. Again, its extremely difficult to describe except that it was a real sensation of something immaterial leaving my physical body. This “force”, for lack of a better word, then positioned itself in the corner of the bathroom ceiling (the bathroom was in darkness) and I stared down on my own motionless body, skinny and frail and apparently lifeless.” (Michael)
c. Experiencers who left and/or re-entering through their ABDOMEN
Donna Gotti’s NDE: “The nurse yelled, ‘We’re losing her,’ and at the sound of distress I was propelled upward. The farther up I went, the brighter the Light became. Two cherubs appeared, one on either side of me, and we slowly drifted to the corner of the ceiling. We communicated through mental telepathy, which is faster and more efficient than mere words. They told me they were Escort Angels and had come to take me Home. But before we could go, I had to look at the body I was leaving behind. She was twenty-five years old and in perfect health, except for the loss of blood and spirit. I determined that the situation was not serious enough, and in less than an instant I reentered my physical body through the navel. I was back on earth and suffering from Homesickness.” (Donna Gotti)
Lynn Russell’s OBE: “I was intensely aware of an atom in my mind. I visualized the atom’s nucleus with the electrons spinning around the core as though they had a consciousness and knew exactly what they were to do … Without warning, my vision changed. I was now viewing our solar system with the sun in the center and the planets spinning around … The visions continued to expand until I felt as though I was looking at the micro and macro universe simultaneously … It was so strong it hit me in the center of my gut. ‘Your being is intricately connected with the operation of the universe!’ … I know when it comes to the universe I’m smaller than a speck of dust. So how could my being have anything to do with the operation of the universe? … It is through our connection with this Oneness that we each play a part in the operation of the universe … Next, I felt as though I had an umbilical cord in my stomach, connecting me to the presence. It was then I heard actual words. The words were external to me and seemed to come from my right. The voice said, “This is where you came from and this is where you will return.” (Lynn Russell)
d. Experiencers who left and/or re-entering through their FEET
Susan Blackmore’s OBE: Blackmore described traveling down a tunnel of trees toward a light, floating on the ceiling, and observing her body below, seeing a silver cord connecting her floating astral body, floating out of the building and then over England, and finally floating across the Atlantic to New York. After hovering around New York, Blackmore floated back to her room in Oxford where she became very small and entered her body’s toes. Then she grew very big, as big as a planet at first, and then she filled the solar system and finally she became as large as the universe. This expansion of consciousness which fills the universe can be found in many NDEs including that of Mellen-Thomas Benedict. (Susan Blackmore)
Jack Foreman’s NDE: “I could look down on my whole body,” he later reported. “One medic was applying electric paddles to my chest to shock me back and shouting Breathe, you son of a bitch, breathe.'” They stabbed needles into his lungs to extract fluid and injected adrenaline direct into the heart. Foreman says he saw his entire life pass in seconds: being in the womb, the ceremony of his Christening, an embarrassing incident as a small boy when he soiled his pants. He heard a loud rushing noise and appeared to be speeding through a dark tunnel with a light of unbearable brightness at the end. This light took human form and he received a message, though not in words, “You must go back.” The tunnel experience happened in reverse. Because of its radioactive status, Foreman’s body had been taken to a cleaning room. He had a feeling that he re-entered painfully through his toes and when he spoke, the medics were totally shocked. (Jack Foreman)
“I threw myself on the bed and gave up. Tossing & turning and wishing I were of good health. Suddenly, while still awake-not falling asleep, I was zapped out of my body through my feet! Imagine a vacuum sweeper on the soles of my feet. Looking down I saw my body still laying on the bed! I felt no fear and no emotions other than questioning why I was up here looking down there at my body.” (Debbie Malec)
6. The connection between the chakras, the silver cord, and the afterlife realms
There is a correlation between the following:
a. The location of the spiritual centers within the body
b. The location on the body where people leave and/or return to their body during an NDE or OBE
c. The location on the body where the silver cord is connected
d. The location of a particular afterlife realm
NDE research reveals how the endocrine glands of the human body have corresponding spiritual centers within the body which are astrologically connected to a particular afterlife realm by means of the silver cord. This endocrine gland/silver cord system is our physical, mental and spiritual connection with afterlife realms.
According to Edgar Cayce, Eastern mysticism, and NDE studies, the human body is a receiver of cosmic energy (like a radio) for which we are able to connect with spiritual realms in the afterlife. This “receiver” aspect of the human body is made up of a system of endocrine glands within our body which are points of contact to an associated system of spiritual energy centers (called “chakras” in the East) which are collectively called the “subtle” or “astral body” (or simply the “soul“). The soul body is the “vehicle” by which people have near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, and lucid dreams for example. Near-death experiencers such as Cayce and Mellen-Thomas Benedict have described how our solar system is actually a physical representation of our higher spirit body. This revelation explains how planetary-astrological forces can influence us here on earth.
The soul body is also the energetic form of the physical body. The spiritual centers of the soul body are points of contact where the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the body come together. Each spiritual center associated with an endocrine gland is also a point of contact to a particular invisible afterlife realm represented physically by one of the planets of our solar system (see the chart above). Cayce identified a particular afterlife realm by giving it the same name as its corresponding planets in our solar system. For example, the planet Jupiter is the 5th planet from the sun and is the physical manifestation of an invisible afterlife realm that is 7th in the afterlife hierarchy. The pituitary gland – the “master” gland of the body – is associated with the “third eye” chakra in Eastern religions and is the point of contact connecting our physical body to 7th afterlife realm represented physically by the planet Jupiter.
Each spiritual energy center corresponds to one of the seven notes on a musical scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B. Each spiritual center also corresponds to a color on the light spectrum of which there are seven: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet (or white). The positive and negative “vibes” a person is outwardly exposed to in life can influence the inward functioning of the endocrine glands and their corresponding spiritual center. The dominant vibration – positive or negative – within a person’s body reflects which spiritual center is dominant within a person’s life. It is the dominant vibration of a person’s life – body and spirit – which determines the level of the corresponding afterlife realm they have attained. Certain yoga meditation techniques (such as chanting mantras) have been used in the East to raise the quality of the spiritual energy vibration to help heal the mind, body and spirit.