Full title: The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There’s Life After Death
I think anyone who has lost a loved one wishes to talk to them again. Annie Kagan was granted that wish. She wasn’t a practicing channeler, so it came as a huge surprise to her when she heard her dead brother’s voice speaking to her from a spot above her head. At the time that this happened, Annie was living a hermit’s life in New England only venturing out to kick ideas around at her writer’s group. So, that gave her the space and time to explore these communications rather than running to the doctor to have the voice medicated away.
At first, she was reluctant to share what she was hearing, afraid that Billy’s voice was her mind’s way of holding the grief away or that other people would think she was going insane, but the information imparted became more and more specific until she couldn’t explain it away. Through the experience and sharing it, Annie came to believe without a doubt that the spirit continues on after death. She took comfort from it and hopes, with this book, to share that comfort with others who may be grieving or afraid of death itself.
The Afterlife of Billy Fingers isn’t going to appeal to everyone. If you don’t believe that communications from beyond the grave are possible, I’d suggest passing on this book. And, towards the end of Billy’s travels into the afterlife, things get really far out as he lets go of his previous self and becomes the universe, embodying the entirety of reality. It reminded me of Be Here Now by Ram Dass, hippie to the extreme. But, that’s the type of spirituality I’m into, so I loved it.
The introduction by Raymond Moody describes Billy as a modern psychopomp, someone who guides the spirits of others through the afterlife: “The experiences Dr. Kagan relates are completely consistent with the kind of role walkers between the worlds played in antiquity. And that is no surprise to me. I think that such experiences are part of the collective psychological heritage of humankind- not artifacts of any one culture.” pg 11, ebook.
Billy was a drug addict and led a very hard life. This is what he had to say about it: “How do I know my life wasn’t some punishment for my past transgressions? Well, because there’s no such thing. You’re not on earth to be punished. … That’s a human concept. Something man made up. Humans make up stuff and then they believe it”. pg 24, ebook. A continuation along that line of thinking later in the book: “Beliefs are big on earth. People collect them. Some of these beliefs are helpful, but others just keep you running around trying to follow rules that others have laid down. They don’t have a lot of personal meaning. It’s a good idea to sort through your beliefs now and then and throw out the ones that don’t serve you.” pg 85, ebook
Annie dealt with a bunch of her own issues in this book, like the fact that by writing this book, people were going to think she was “flaky”. At one point in the narrative, she has a toothache and starts to believe that she’s being punished for revealing universal truths that should be kept secret. She eventually gets past that attitude, but, when it comes to the unknown, I think fear can be a major hurdle: “After my toothache and the painful root canal and awful infection that followed, I was scared. … who was I to be the one to prove there’s life after death? Maybe some secrets shouldn’t be revealed. Maybe I was breaking a sacred taboo, dabbling in a cosmic Pandora’s box.” pg 41, ebook.
Another of the Be Here Now moments: “In your world, as the earth moves around the sun, there’s nothing but shadow for a good part of the time. The mystery of life on earth cannot exist without the shadow element. You cannot have the sea without storms, the earth without quakes, the wind without tornados. … And sometimes- sometimes darkness is okay too. Don’t overlook the riches contained in the darkness. Life’s very temporary, so don’t let time just pass. Let the moments fill you- the ones you judge to be good as well as bad.” pg 77, ebook. Solid advice.
Let’s end with one more bit of wisdom: “People spend lots of time on things that make them unhappy- too much focus on the sand in the oyster. To cultivate joy, pay attention to what you like.” pg 116
Recommended for spiritual seekers and people who enjoy reading about near death experiences/channeled wisdom. Some read alikes:Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Vol. 1 by Neale Donald Walsch, My Son and the Afterlife: Conversations from the Other Side byElisa Medhus, Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires byEsther Hicks or, if you’re looking to introduce more joy into your life:Thank & Grow Rich: A 30-Day Experiment in Shameless Gratitude and Unabashed Joy by Pam Grout.
Thanks for reading!