What Happens When We Die? 

Our Journey in the Afterlife  

By Margarete van den Brink and Hans Stolp

This book is a re-edition of A Christian book of the Dead

Is there truly life beyond death? What really happens when we die? Can the living stay connected with, or even help, their loved ones who have passed on?

Answers to these questions have traditionally been sought for in Eastern religions but – perhaps surprisingly for some – they can also be found within the Christian tradition. In fact, such knowledge was prevalent in early Christianity, but was gradually suppressed and eventually forgotten.

Turning to hidden – esoteric – sources that reveal lost meanings within the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Gnostic texts, Hans Stolp and Margarete van den Brink describe the world of light that exists beyond death, and the ‘seven steps' needed to progress through its realms.

The authors draw on near-death experiences as well as the many profound personal encounters with deceased friends and family members described by people in recent times.

With this knowledge, together with Rudolf Steiner's research, they offer answers to the following questions:

  • What is the world beyond death really like and what tasks await us there?
  • Why is love and wisdom gained in life on earth so important in the afterlife?
  • How can the living help or hinder the dead?
  • How do the departed themselves help loved ones who are left behind?
  • How does the Christ sustain the dead as they review their previous life and prepare for the next?

This is an extraordinary guide to understanding what happens after death. It also offers invaluable advice on staying connected to our loved ones who have passed on.


  1. The Tragedy of Traditional Christianity
  2. The Lost Secret
  3. Opening Up the Spiritual World
  4. Looking Beyond the Boundary
  5. Seven Steps to the World of Light
  6. What we Give Back
  7. The House of the Spirit
  8. Body, Soul and Spirit
  9. The Path trough the Spirit Realms
  10. Driven from Paradise for a Second Time
  11. The Revolution and Renewal Performed by Christ
  12. The Connection Between the Dead and the Living
  13. What Can we Do for the Dead?

'Use this book as an encouragement to take a new step on your journey into the sphere of the spirit – the soul's true home. Your friends who are already there will help you'.
Russel Evans

Temple Lodge Publishing
21 June 2017
158pp; paperback
ISBN 9781912230075

Can be ordered from all good booksellers or directly from:

Booksource, 50 Cambuslang Road, Glasgow, G32 8NB. Tel. 0141 643 3961;


Book review

A certainty of life is to come in close contact with death. This can be an enormous privilege, but it can also bring many emotions to the surface, no matter how well we feel prepared for it.

Reading this book was quite a surprise. This slim volume is an extraordinary achievement by Margarete van den Brink and Hans Stolp. They entreat us, in the introduction, to put aside any fear of death we may have, assuring that anyone who can manage to do so will be better equipped to face life here and now.

The authors explain in plain and simple non-jargon the Christian basis of understanding that we are threefold beings and our body, soul and spirit are all connected by a 'silver cord'. They go on to describe the journey the soul and spirit make when someone dies, 'when the silver cord is loosed'; truths deeply embedded in Christian wisdom but kept secret for millennia, appear. By mapping out this journey and clearly describing the possibilities and opportunities a whole new perspective opens up. The message is a solemn but hopeful one - death is not an end but a whole new beginning which we can take an active role in. And - what is more - those who have died are longing for the relationship they have had on earth to go on developing.
We are challenged to develop a whole new set of faculties to achieve this.

The book includes accounts of many near-death or out-of-body experiences, some of them the author's own, where the overriding impression is of light, boundless love and compassion. The interpretation of the parable of the rich and poor man, in which Jesus Christ describes their experiences after death, unfolds the notion of hell and damnation as being simply an individual's experience of the habit-life they have built into their body and soul during life on earth.

It is a good example of what we meet throughout the book: a productive marriage of the Christian tradition with Rudolf Steiner's inspired interpretation of it, brought together by these two authors.

Margarete van den Brink will be known to many for her book 'More Precious Than Light', and her counselling and organisational consultancy work. Here she joins forces with Hans Stolp, a well-known theologian and author in Holland.

So what does happen to a person when they die? At the time we can be preoccupied with the practicalities of the physical remains and our emotions. But how can we best assist and accompany the person's soul and spirit to help them to take their leave and pass on to the next phase of their journey?

In order to do this we need to understand that journey. It is described in a number of different ways in this book, and a picture emerges of us, after death, perceiving all our actions on earth and their effects on others; both the pain and the joy.

We engage in a process of learning the lessons and yielding the fruits of the recently completed life on earth so we can take on new capacities and spiritual forces for our next incarnation, to make good past mistakes and acquire more knowledge and insight.

The authors concisely describe the whole evolution of humanity and the central role of renewal Christ has played. Indeed it is through Christ that we can gain our consciousness in the spiritual world after death, made possible by his deeds on Golgotha and at Whitsun.

The last section deals with how we can maintain a connection with the dead. They may seem very far away, or even to not be there at all, but we actually inhabit the same etheric, astral and spiritual worlds as they do. To come to a realisation of this can help us in our grieving as well as greatly assisting the dead, who are in need of our thoughts and inspiration as they make their way on their passage towards 'the world of light'.

I feel sure that this idea is a living reality for many, but for some, death can raise some real fears, doubts and anxieties. There is much substance in this book that could form the basis of very helpful discussions.

Tony Langhams' fluid translation means it is easy to forget it was written in Dutch.

It is a book you may well want to revisit again and again; it is as much about how to live our lives in a meaningful way as it is about how to make a fruitful connection to those who have died.

Margarete van den Brink declared that it is really meant for the general public, but I believe anyone familiar with anthroposophy will also find it a very valuable road map for a territory we can never be too familiar with.

Patricia Thompson, Oaklands Park, Stroud, UK.

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