🎙️ Join us in this fascinating episode of Grief 2 Growth as host Brian Smith sits down with Father Nathan Castle, O.P., a tremendous spiritual guide who has helped over 500 souls navigate their interrupted death experiences. Together, they delve into the complexities of the afterlife, healing, and Father Nathan's literary works.
In this episode, we cover the following:
• Father Nathan's unique calling to help souls who have experienced sudden, traumatic deaths
• The concept of Interrupted Death Experiences and how some souls can get stuck in a trauma loop
• Insights and teachings from Father Nathan's books, "Afterlife Interrupted" (Books 1 and 2)
Don't miss this enlightening discussion that sheds light on a topic often shrouded in mystery,.
🔗 Find Father Nathan Castle's books on Amazon
🌐 Visit Father Nathan Castle's website: https://nathan-castle.com
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Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we've been buried. But what if, like a seed we've been planted and having been planted would grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey everybody, this is Brian back with another episode of grief to growth and they have got me with me a fascinating man's father Nathan castle. He's from gross, Texas he received an MA and M div or master's in Divinity degrees from an Bennigan's school of philosophy and theology at the graduate theological union in Berkeley, California. He served in campus ministries at Arizona State University at Stanford and at UC Riverside. Father Nathan is chair of the Executive Board and the Catholic of the Catholic campus ministry Association. We're here to talk to him about today is he's actually helped more than 500 stuck and not so stuck souls who died suddenly and dramatically. He's helped them to adjust to the afterlife. Victims of fires, automobile accident shooting stabbings, drownings, and suicide come to him and dream seeking help to resolve their interrupted death experiences. Excuse me. Bother Nathan blazer providing such help is something the Holy Spirit has given him and his prayer partners to do. In his afterlife interrupted books father, Nathan is quick to point out that not everyone who dies suddenly gets stuck. He's also the author of and Toto to the Wizard of Oz as a spiritual adventure and afterlife interrupted, as I said earlier, books one and two, helping stuck souls crossover.
Father Nathan Castle 2:04
Nice to be with you.
Brian Smith 2:06
Thanks for being here. Father, I want to talk to you about first of all, I'm a little bit concerned about the subject. So I'm always trying to bring peace to people and alleviate fear as much as possible. So when people hear about souls being stuck, what does that actually mean?
Father Nathan Castle 2:25
Well, when I first, my first my two books, I used that in the subtitle, I was comparing it to the the near death experience that you're familiar with, because we're both members of ions, the International Association for near death studies where people talk about, you know, being out of body during a heart attack or some other trauma to the body or whatever, and having their consciousness float above, observe things that are inexplicable, except that the consciousness is outside the body. And very often, they have a kind of a sequence of perhaps going down a tunnel or toward an attractive light, maybe seeing loved ones or religious figures, having some conversation about staying or going and then often being told to come back or they're asked that they choose to come back. That's pretty common. You know, Raymond Moody made that famous back in 1975. With his book Life after life, these experiences are people that really died. But they did not have a smooth, sequential movement from the body, they were in to what happens next. And they, I got rid of the word stuck in the subtitle of the second book, because I found that some of them were somewhere stuck in the way that people can get stuck in a trauma loop. You and your listeners probably have, you know, at least one person who is alive on this earth, but who is grinding away at some trauma that happened some time ago that just won't turn loose. And that can be very painful. And some of the people that I dealt with, especially in the first book, were in a trauma loop, about the way they died, after they died, kind of kept reliving the automobile accident or something like that. So I thought in the midst doc, and some work, but then others it just seemed like none of us know what it would be like to die, dramatically be healthy one minute and die and be out of body the next and for some of them, it is just so abrupt and so much all at once that they really need something like intensive care in the afterlife. They their needs are greater than the needs of people that died peacefully in their sleep. And so the afterlife provides it.
Brian Smith 4:54
Okay. And so how did you discover that you had this bill? We'll do
Father Nathan Castle 5:02
well, I do that in two parts. I, I was taught as a as a Catholic Christian child very early on, that I had the capacity, the ability, and so did everyone else, to pray for the dead and influence their ongoing life. Back, I try not to even say the data caught myself saying it there, because they're still alive, everybody is it's not just about religious belief, or whether you believe in an afterlife or not, people who didn't believe in it, awaken to it, and go, Oh, it's still me. They might not tell you I'm still here, because they don't know where here is because they're not in the same here where they were earlier, but that they're alive and that they are themselves and self evident. And then they have to figure out the rest of it. But anyway, I was as a little Catholic child, I was taught to pray for the souls in purgatory. And the way that was is presented to me as a child is that there were three options upon death about where a person went next, heaven, hell or purgatory, and that most people weren't absolutely horrible, or absolutely perfect. And most people landed in the middle. By the way, we were also told, and in first grade, I remember that, that we would only know if someone if a human person was in a permanent hell if God told us so. And God has not told us so. We don't we don't know the name of anybody in a permanent hell. No human person. So anyway, I but it seemed like they were nation states, like you crossed the border. What if you were in one of them, you weren't in the other or something like that. But we could help people who were in purgatory to go to heaven by praying for them. And so and then one, both of my aunts were Dominican first grade teachers. I keep a picture of them handy. For I guess some people are listening to this, but I'm showing a picture from about 1937. There, my, my dad's siblings, and they were both first grade teachers. So I had my mom, my dad, my mother, grandmother, next door was a mystic. And I had two aunts that were Dominican, first grade teachers, I have lots of input about spiritual practice very early. So I was one of them told me that God hears everyone's prayers. But the practice of children goes straight to God's heart. And that you have a superpower, as a child, to pray for anyone in everything you can think of. Don't waste your short childhood, pray for everyone and everything you can think of. And I was also told that in Purgatory, if yours was the prayer that sprung somebody into heaven, that they'd be eternally grateful to you, you'd have a friend in heaven. And I thought, well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. And so I would, I, my dad, and mom didn't go to college, they would grew up during the Depression, and that was just not going to happen. But by the time we they started having us, I was born in 56, they were there were five of us, and they got started college funds. For each one of us in the first week of our life. Each of us had a little passbook savings book with our name in it a numbers that got bigger every time you went to the bank, because we never made withdrawal from that it was always, you know, you were to be conscious that when you got big, they're the big money that would pay for your college. So anyway, when we went to the bank, it was obvious that the people that random bank plan to make you wait in line. There might be six teller booths and three people working. Or those executive ropes that go around and around in a lobby to make everybody wait their turn. And somehow that became purgatory. For me. I thought there must be people that are one step away from from getting served, getting into heaven, and there's somebody that just walked in the door, and must be discouraged because they're all the way at the back of the line. So I would prefer the one at the front and the one at the back. I'd fall asleep doing this every night. And it sounds tiring, but who cares when you're going to sleep anyway, I would just fall asleep praying for the souls in purgatory. So years later, in my early 40s. I was a priest then by probably about 15 years. I was on a retreat. I was dreaming in the night about finishing around a golf going into the bar with a friend and finding that we were in a silent auction for a charity. I've run charities most of my life fundraising as part of the deal. And so I was standing there in a fundraiser so it's still kind of my life. But on the far wall, there was this nasty piece of art in a frame that I just said to my partner. Look at that god awful thing who would donate that to a charity. It's terrific. But it was so it was horrific in a way that was attractive. The way that we maybe are ashamed to admit that we want to drive slow by the wreck on the freeway, look at it, you know, it had that appeal to it. And I went toward the painting and it moved towards me or the framed art. And when when we kind of met in the middle and, and suddenly the images inside of it started moving. And it was a guy on fire, young man sitting on the radiator of a car, he had not been in Iraq, but for whatever reason he was in, he was on fire on the engine of a car, and he was screaming, and I woke up. And I knew the first part was my dreamscape. And the second part was not so, and it was quite clear, I've had to carry a pager or have a pager on the nightstand to take my turn, in case there's a call hospital call. In the night, most Catholic priests, somewhere along the line have to do that they could turn in case there's an a medical emergency in the middle of the night. This this felt like that it felt like being summoned by somebody who had an urgent need. And so I sat up and said a prayer. I I, I spoke aloud to the person said, This is what I just saw. You stay put in the morning, I'll find a helper and we'll see what we can do. And that's the way we got started.
Brian Smith 11:28
Oh, wow. So you thought to help her? And how did that go?
Father Nathan Castle 11:33
It went very well. I was on a retreat with most of the people on it were friends of mine. I was their pastor for a lot of them. And one of them had extraordinary spiritual gifts that I knew about because I had been a prayer partner with her previously. And I thought her gifts might be helpful. So I said, Would you mind praying with me when we get a break? Something happened in the night? I'd like to tell you about it and have you pray with me and see what we might learn or do. And in the course of it. She said, Well, we've got still and we said our prayers and but I approached this very carefully. When we move into spirit communication, Catholic start in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit anyway, so we're inside the body of Christ. And I think that is kind of surrounding me. I pray to Michael, the archangel, to Mary mother of Jesus to St. Dominic the patron of the order I belong to different ones. I think of myself sort of like an insider huddled at a football game, surrounded by beings of light, who are my friends who I know love me and would protect me. And then I feel it's safe to open to something unknown. Because I feel like if I wouldn't, if I were inviting someone dangerous, my friends wouldn't let them through. And we, she said, Whoever this guy is he really wants to talk to you would it be okay if I let him and I knew she had the gift that I think belongs to the, in the Christian language, the the gift of prophecy, actually Jewish and Christian prophecy allowing one's voice to be used for God or a godly person to communicate a message. So she did that. And out of her came his voice saying, Who the hell does he think he is taking me just when my life is getting good? So I said, Hello, my name is Nathan. This is my friend through whom you're speaking. You. I think you gave me a message in the night. This is what I saw. Is that what you wanted me to see? And he said, Yep, that's how I died. He was from Georgia. He was from rural Georgia. And he had we learned that he died in 1960. When I was four years old. He waved said, like, you know, you probably do this in different parts of your life when someone comes into your presence and you say, how can I help you? You know, like when we walk into a store, clerk will say, you know, Brian, what can I do for you? Right? And so we just said, What is it you want his name? We learned that his name was Ray that he died in 1960. He told us the he had gotten his girlfriend pregnant. Their senior year of high school they married the child was about a year and a half old. He went in on a small business. They rented a house that had a detached garage and his best friend, and he went into business repairing cars. On a Sunday afternoon, they'd had too much to drink. The friend was over for Sunday dinner at at their house. Apparently the friend said something that Ray thought was off color or insulting toward his wife and they took it outside. They left the table in anger and went over to the shop. And then some he does still doesn't know how he caught fire. But he was wearing greasy clothes and sitting on a radiator of a car and how he caught fire. He doesn't know. But he had been taught that the reason people die at all is because God took them. Right. Right. Maybe some of your audience has heard that before? Well, the way he interiorized that it was now God burned him to death. You know, who the hell does he think he is? But that's where we started.
Brian Smith 15:25
Wow. So were you able to help? Right? We were
Father Nathan Castle 15:29
it took us a few sessions. It's the only one and all these years, 2027 years now that took more than one. But we were learning our way along. There wasn't a manual to follow. He just did the best we could. He we just he he told us what he wanted was my wife. He had been watching her for like 40 years after his death. And she's in her 60s. She was she's, he said she married again. She married up she married her a lawyer. I moved to South Carolina. They had no more children. He did a fine job raising my son. I have no beef with that man. But my wife is dying. And I want to greet her when she comes. But I can't the way I am. Somebody asked me once if I if I was mocking him, but the accent I'm from Texas, the accents, not hard for me to put on at all. And any had one. And so anyhow, we learned that that's what he wanted. He wanted to greet his wife when she died. And I said, Well, okay, but he left. I said, What are you been doing for the last 40 years? And he said nothing much said have you met anybody? No. He just he, he he wanted there to be nothing. Hmm. And so he created in his afterlife, the closest thing to nothing that he could? Wow, wow. And in it? Well, we said, well, you know that there's not nothing you're talking to me. You're you. And I mean, there's you know that you did that to yourself. And now you want out of there. So we need to figure out how to get that how to have that happen? I said, it seems like we ought to at least get you in circulation. Could we get you moving? Way? I said how did you get to know about God at all? And he said, My mom and I said, What? Tell me about that. She said, Well, she used to make me kneel next to my bed and she beat me while I prayed. Wow. So I said, Why don't you do that? And he said, I don't know she just did. And I said, Well, you didn't get to raise your son very much. He was only a year and a half when he died. But if you'd gotten to raise them, do you think you would have beat him while he prayed? And he said, Of course not. I said, Well, then, would you hold a thought that may be the mother that taught you about God by beating you while you prayed might have given you a kind of an odd idea? You know, and I asked him has anybody? Did anybody ever decide how you were in a way that was wrong? Did any? Did anybody ever say something about you? That wasn't true? I said, well do the math. You're small, God's huge. That happens to all of us. And it happens to God every day, every minute, but people are always saying things about God that aren't true. That's just that's the way it is. Would you be willing to change an idea or two? Well, he didn't like that. Because mostly we like being right. You know, most of us don't want to change our mind. Sometimes I'm a preacher. And I'll ask people when's the last time you changed your mind about something important? People often have to think about
Brian Smith 18:39
it. It's not easy to do. Yeah,
Father Nathan Castle 18:42
no, it's one thing when you're ordering off a menu and you decide, you know, one second thought, I'm going to have the other thing. But we don't do that very much in the way that we form our opinions in adulthood. Even kids can be stubborn that way. Right? So I said, Well, you know, your cancers got its own schedule, and it's not going to wait on you. You've just told me that you had, you've had 40 years and not very much. And now you want to go fast. So I'll help you build fast, but you're probably not gonna like it because people don't like being pushed. And I'm gonna push you not because I'm pushy. But because you've asked me to help you. Hurry up. So I said, Well, what What about? I want it I said, Don't you think we ought to get you in circulation somehow? To go from isolation to communion with your wife when she passes? Maybe we ought to practice is, could we invite somebody to come and be with you that might take you for a walk or something? And I said, I almost mentioned the mother. And then I thought, no, not the woman that beat him. I only pray. What about your dad? And he said, Well, I didn't know him very well. He died when I was 10. He died in the war. And I said, Vietnam, he said, No Korea. Well, Vietnam hadn't happened in 1960. I just had my worst mixed up, right? For a second. But he I said, Well, what if we win What if we asked him to come and be near you, but not too near? So you could size them up? Could you kind of draw a line somewhere? He can come this far and no further, I want you to feel safe. And so he said, I could do that. I told him sometimes, if I'm, if I'm in a circumstance where I'm not, I don't feel completely safe. I stand near the door. You know, or maybe I limit the amount of time I'll be with somebody. Yes, I'll give you five minutes. Could you do something like that? And he agreed. So I said, Well, God, let's re would like to see if his dad's available. And within 10 seconds, he said, Oh, my God, look over there. And I said, Well, I can't see what you're seeing. Well, it's my dad. Well, I said, Do you Do you feel? Do you think you're being tricked? Dizzy, or do you feel scared? No, it's just my dad. I said, Okay, well, then we're gonna leave you guys alone. You. He'll take it from here, and we'll meet up with you in a few days. So when we did meet up with him, I asked him, you know, as a counseling technique, you do some counseling, don't you? And life coaching just said, you know, when people go dark, one of the techniques is to change the subject. You know, oh, okay, well, what's your favorite color? Get them thinking about anything happy. So I said, Well, you know, did you and you're, you were kind of scared of your dad, and you didn't know him very well. He was away at the war. And then he died. Did you guys ever have a good time together? Just as a father and a son. And he thought about instead, yeah, one time we went looked at cars. And of course, he had an auto repair business. So he kind of had a thing for cars. So simple. Well, that's good. Well, anyway, I'm gonna ask him to come. And he did. And we'll leave you guys alone. When we when we met up with him. The next time, we asked how did it go? And he said, went great. We went looked at cars. Wow. And I said, Well, how did you do it? He died in 1952. And you died 1960. And it was now almost 2000. I said, just you have to time travel? He said, No, no, we went looked at the new ones. Interesting. I didn't know and they don't need to tell. I didn't need to know, you know, what town or what corner or what car lot or anything. Somewhere, they were looking at cars. And this was his eyes, using that as a way to get together. So anyway, we worked on them a little bit. And then I said, you know, I think I know what it is that that you're going to need to change. And I don't think you're going to like it. And he said would. And I said well, I think you're a caveman. Every time you talk about your wife, you act like you own the rights to her. And that if you had your way you'd grab her by the hair and pull her into your cave. And he didn't like that either. Because I was being pretty blunt. I said, You were only married a short time now she only had two husbands and you're the only one who's died. So you're the only one over there. You only had one child and that was with you. You're very important. But you're not the whole show. She's she's in her 60s, she might have parents that have died, who loved her siblings, people that you never even met that she loved. I think there's probably going to be at least a small group and that you'll be a part of it. But I think if you just calm down and accepted your place without being a caveman about it, I think it probably work. So we had to go. It's funny because you're, you'd think that when you have this kind of thing going on that time stops and you just, you know, you go on and on. But I don't know what you're doing after this podcast. But at that I'm not the only thing you're doing today. Few things. Yeah, we always do. And the person that I was with was my partner and I were both very busy people that we'd make an appointment, but the time would went out. And so we would say okay, right, we gotta go. But we'll see you soon. And it worked just fine. And anyway, at the end the story he had then the next time that we met up with him, he said, Well, what's new? And he said, big news. My wife passed. And I said, oh, we'll tell us about that. And he said, Well, it was kind of like he said, there was there were just a few of us. And you'd have been proud of me. I was a perfect gentleman. Mm hmm. Wow, he got to be there. But he was the perfect gentleman. And I said, Why didn't you had it in you, that's all you needed to do is chill a little bit. And then I said, I guess our workers finished, you know, we helped you do the thing that you need to do and you don't need to hang around here and, and we've got other things to do. So I guess we're gonna say goodbye. And he said, Yes, sir. I think so. I said, Well, it was like saying goodbye to the friends you'd never met. You know, I've never seen it like eyes on and really. I just said, Well, I'll tell you what, right? You know how to watch people for a long time and keep an eye on them. And now you know how to help them cross. And so I wonder if you would just keep an eye on the end when it's time for me to leave my body would you be there to greet me? And he said, Why sir? I'd be most 100 Just look for the perfect gentleman. And so, here's the first story and the first of my two afterlife books. And I call that chapter Ray the perfect gentleman. That's awesome. That's how it all got started.
Brian Smith 25:14
So, um, so he came to you in a dream. And you you have this partner and I have this word doesn't offend you, but someone that can speak to people that are that are dead, for lack of a better word we call the common vernacular, we call them a medium. You said this person as a as a against the prophecy? Do you see this as being similar?
Father Nathan Castle 25:36
I have the same gift. And in my Catholic Church, the words medium, and Channeler are both negative, like radioactive. And so I don't use them because they often right. But I'm the preacher and words is the media of an ad medium is from media.
Brian Smith 26:02
It's exactly it's what media is. Yes, yes. It's,
Father Nathan Castle 26:05
there's in and of itself, both of those words are innocuous. It's just that ideas of the demonic or, or spooky or forbidden or what not get attached to them. And I understand that. And I believe that the letters of St. Paul, in the Christian New Testament list a lot of extraordinary terrorism's and this one is that. And so I just think it belongs to the gift of prophecy in the list that that St. Paul created?
Brian Smith 26:38
Sure, sure. And, you know, I think it's, it's, for me, it's sad, the division between what we call spirituality or new age or whatever, and to traditional religions, because a lot of it is the same thing with different language. And I know that I know that some people teach that it's forbidden to, quote, speak with the dead. But that's, that's what you're doing. You're speaking with people who have crossed over and you're assisting them?
Father Nathan Castle 27:04
Well, we don't all get to remake the world. When we wake up in the morning. You don't get to make the whole world conform to your way of thinking we just have to live in and do the best we can. And I, I've been public about this work now for about five years, and I encounter a little bit of critique around it. On the other hand, anybody who has ever said a prayer to Jesus is talking to somebody who died. Exactly. It was in all the papers. That was he died very famously. Yeah, exactly. And then inside the Christian New Testament, He also on the Mount of Transfiguration talks to Moses and Elijah, absolutely. Each of whom had been had died centuries previously. So it there's, it's, there's some context needed. And I don't entertain at a party by bringing through dead people. I don't ask for tomorrow's lottery numbers, I do nothing like that. All I'm doing is something I believe that the Holy Spirit has given me to do,
Brian Smith 28:08
right. So how many people would you estimate you've helped cross at this point?
Father Nathan Castle 28:13
Well, there have been a I, I didn't write them down early on. So I don't have an exact number. But somewhere in the neighborhood of 500, you mentioned it in the intro. Although some of them are in a group, they're not always one by one by one as the right story was, sometimes there are groups of people that died in a similar way, or in the same event. And they're when those happen, they're not. There'll be an opportunity for people who are kind of gathered in the same place. I have a podcast also. And right now, in my podcast, I'm telling a story of buddy, that, who, who, who now is the conductor or something like that he, he didn't want to be the conductor. He, he was in a place where everyone there had died in the collisions of cars and trains. So that's what these people had in common. They had died suddenly abruptly because they were in a collision involving a car and a train, or a vehicle in the train. And, and that story, he explained to us that there that there were all these people that were together, but they weren't really interacting in a happy way. They were like people waiting at a bus stop or something. It wasn't punishment, and it wasn't painful. It was just kind of bland or boring. And, and but they were all in a place where they couldn't move because there was a train track running through it, but a boulder was on the train track. So that was what he showed me in a dream. Right. And in his case, My older both of my sisters have the same gift that I do of allowing speech through. Oh, wow, that prophetic gift. And my, my elder sister Mimi was lives in suburban Houston, we were in her backyard. And I asked her, Would you mind helping with one of these? And she said, Sure. And so when we're both there, and the person that we're trying to help, could come through the one of us, we had to wait and see who it would be. And he chose her and spoke through her to me. And he was, he was angry, and had an attitude, and said, I'm not the conductor. I never said I was the conductor, these people want you to read the doctor, I'm not the conductor. Well, we learned that he was he had been out with a buddy drinking, and have just having some fun. He said, I've been drinking. And that's when the accident occurred. And he said, I was like locked out of my own body. I couldn't get back in and said, I've been here with these people. And none of us can move because there's this boulder on the train track. And I said, Well, I suppose you'd like me to help you with that if I can. And he said, Yeah. I said, what what what should we call you? And he just said, just call me buddy. He didn't really want to disclose his name. He just wanted to keep it. You know, more, a little more distant. Just call me buddy. The way you might say, Hey, buddy, you over there. Yeah. And in the in that one? Well, we learned that. I said, Well, the problem is there's this this rock, a big rock on a train track. What how? How would you get? How would you get it off? I said, Is there a stick or something like you could do a fulcrum, maybe you get get everybody to push their weight against it, and you pry it off the track. And he sent it to be a lot easier if we just had some heavy equipment. And I said, Well, that's a good idea. Have you asked for it? He said, No. That's, let's try that. And he said, Well, if you're going to ask for equipment, make sure you ask for the key to it. That's, that's a good idea wouldn't do any good if we couldn't even turn over the ignition. So I said, Okay, well, I didn't make a great big deal of it. Because these people aren't necessarily religious, or Catholic. Ray was annoyed when he learned that I was Catholic was because he had been taught that we were, I don't know, of the devil or something. I grew up in the South. Being a Catholic, there's not always welcome. Anyway, in that story, he said, Yeah, make sure you ask her the key. And I said, Okay, I will just said God, would you please send buddy piece of heavy equipment that could help him get this rock off the train track? And would you make sure we have has the key in it? And by the bot while we're at it, could we have an operator just in case it's more complicated than he knows how to use? Could you send somebody that are already knows how to use it just in case. And so, within 10 seconds, Magali looked over there and I said, Well, what are you seeing? Well, it's, it's a front end loader. And I said, Well, is it yellow, lots of times the yellow nice again, it's yellow. And there's a guy and there's a cab, and the guy was waving up at me to come up into the cab. So he climbed up there, and the guy stood over his shoulder while he operated it. And he said, Oh, my God, there's this big ball of lightning. It's coming right toward us. And I said, Oh, crap. You know, you guys all got hit by something moving. Do you feel safe? And it? Yeah, it's okay. It's just a big ball of light. And there's people inside of it. And he said, one of them's my PA. So I said, Well, what's he saying? What's he doing? And he said, he's telling me to get him get any of these people that want to to join hands, and it'll pull us all through at once. Oh, wow. Okay. And so I said, Well, that sounds kind of like a game we played when I was a child on the lawn, we would pretend that we were a train, and we'd all hold hands, and we'd, and we'd start running around and the train was going too fast. And it got fall off the track, and we'd all fall down on the line. I said, Did you ever play again like that? And he said, Well, I suppose and I said, but he said, anyway, it's going to be a long line, because there's a lot of people here and they don't have to do it if they don't want but if they want to, they can join hands and he'll pull us through. So I said, Okay, well, you guys do what you need to do. And that was a real quick one. Because his pap, ah, pull them through. And, well, we know we don't tell these stories publicly unless we get their permission. And when we're in the middle of one of them, it doesn't seem like the right time to butt in, you know, Brian, before you leave. We want to use your story in a book. So we go back one more time, because I believe that totally, it's it's respectful and polite and we're not idly curious, we have an important reason. So we go back into protected prayer and ask, Is it okay, we could leave your story? And when we do, sometimes they give us updates on what they've been doing since the way that you might do with a friend you haven't seen in a while.
Brian Smith 35:10
Like, what kind of updates? I'm curious?
Father Nathan Castle 35:14
Well, I'm thinking of a young woman who died. She was in a car crash when she was 24. And we I said was, that must have been how you died. And she said only half, I mean, the bottom half, she was paralyzed. And she had 12 years of physical therapy, but was never able to walk. And she said, I got better and stronger, but I was never able to walk. But in that one, she had a physical therapist, friend that that came for what happened to her was she was she had that accident 24 and then 36, a dial a ride, Van came to pick her up to take her somewhere. And in the course of loading her into the back of it, the operator dropped her on her head and killed her. So she was disgusted that, that there was an afterlife. First she, she thought life, I'm sick of life, and witch, but when they don't come to us until they've been vetted, I don't have to arm twist, anybody, they they have other helpers, that, that, that move them along through some healing. And we're kind of like the discharge staff at a medical center. When you don't need to be there anymore. somebody's in charge of seeing that you leave in an orderly way. You know, your medications, you know, your next a therapy appointment? Or who's going to come for you? And are you going to be well fed all of those kinds of things. Anyway, that's kind of what we do. But in her case, when we did follow up with her and she way, she said yes to using the story. And she told us that all she's been doing since is doing cartwheels on the lawn, like she's a 10 year old. And she said, I'm sure I'll get sick of it at some point, but I haven't yet. And nobody's hollering come in here and do these dishes or stop that nonsense. I'm just allowed to do what I want. And just all I wanted to do with cartwheels. Interesting. I haven't talked to her ever since. But I'm pretty sure she's gone on to something besides cartwheels. But at the moment, we talked to her she said that's all I wanted to do for a while.
Brian Smith 37:18
Yeah. So your understanding of you know, we've talked earlier, the traditional view is we were given that there's heaven, there's hell, there's purgatory, and God send you to one of these three places. So what's your understanding now of of these, these afterlife rooms that people were in?
Father Nathan Castle 37:35
Well, I don't know for sure, Brian, but I can give you an opinion. My my undergraduate degree was in sociology and social sciences. So that's, that was kind of a formative training for me at the beginning of my higher ed. And in the social sciences, you're supposed to observe phenomena behavior. record what you saw, and present that data. If you have an opinion about the data, you're supposed to do that separately. Sure, sure. to label it and say, having done this research, here's what I think about it, which is the question you're asking me? Yes. Now I made a I made a point in my books to say I'm not writing doctrinal books. I'm just recording phenomenon. And by the way, all of these are recorded on an app on my phone, and then transcribed, and my books are mostly the cleaned up transcriptions, getting rid of stammers and incomplete sentences and stuff, trying to stay as true as we can to what, what it felt like to be in the conversation. Awesome. But it I was taught, well, when you look around at the universe, and if you believe it's created, that it didn't make itself, it never made sense to me to believe that, that everything around me just sprang into being all by itself. houses don't build themselves. A creator creates that makes sense to me, you know, in kindergarten, I believe that the creation is so varied, like how many kinds of fruit flies are there? How many kinds of answer how many kinds of human beings, there's just such breadth and variety and creativity. And some of it is just want to make you laugh, you know, you see nature films about you know, my sister and brother in law are both underwater photographers and they'll go into places and come up with animals you never knew existed. And anyway, there's just such variety that I see that variety played out in the in the stories that I assist with. There isn't just one template of how everybody how it happens when Everybody dies that everybody gets funneled through this same process. And, and the Christian imagination about the afterlife is in the in the most people have what to me seems like a pretty I don't know limited idea of streets of gold or angels with harps or church services that go on forever or clouds or whatever. Although when you go to funerals, sometimes you'll have some urologist or somebody at the reception saying, Well, I bet he's up there with all his poker buddies now, you know, I bet he's on the first tee and heaven or something like that. We hope that something that we know gave our deceased blood find joy is present for them, you know?
Brian Smith 40:41
Yeah, I think we've, I think most of us has moved beyond those those images of streets and gold and, and flames of sulfur and all that. But for and from what I understand, what I always say to people is, I think, why would we think the afterlife is any less fairy didn't hear, as you mentioned earlier that the earth is complex, and, and interesting and detailed and varied. So why would we think that? Most, you know, a lot of our views of having what were children? Sounds very boring to me. Yeah. But what I'm really curious about is this. I guess the inability or unwillingness of some people to move on like you mentioned, we started talking about Ray and sounds like Ray was angry about being in the afterlife and, and a way I guess, stuck. Also, 40 years sounds like a long time. Have you ever spoke with anybody about what time is like for them versus for us?
Father Nathan Castle 41:40
Yes. And I thought I fell into that same way of thinking that it must be the same for everybody. Well, it isn't. Some people, but you must know people that hardly ever know what time it is. Don't you have some people that you know, if you make a dinner reservation? They're not going to be there?
Brian Smith 42:01
Father Nathan Castle 42:04
And then there are other people that are just Punctuality is everything to them. But we have different attitudes towards time. And the afterlife, I've seen people right wasn't really bothered by. It's not like he felt like he didn't in jail for 40 years. Exactly. He wasn't being punished. He was just waiting for his wife. That's, that's the way he decided to frame his moment. He had other choices. But sometimes, maybe some of your listeners have done this in their life. Have you ever painted yourself into a corner with your own thoughts? Yeah, just decided, well, that's the way things are, and they're never going to be any different. Especially persons who are prone to depression, can really allow that to take over and decide that the rest of their life is going to suck, because the present moment does. It's never going to change. Well, anyway, people can do that after they leave here too. And, but they're one of the things that I've seen is that truth is very important. And in Christian language, Jesus speaks of himself as the Way the Truth and the Life. And sometimes we in my own relationship with him, I'll call him truth, especially if I'm confused about a thing. I'll say, hey, truth, instead of here by me. I need I need to get to the truth of this conundrum, that Ananda this problem that I'm struggling with. And I've seen that people have to come to truth. And when they do that, they they free up, the truth will set you free. Right? Right. You see it in like 12 Step programs, where people like quit denying their addiction, you know, whatever, blaming everybody else for their troubles or whatever they come to truth. And as they do they move into freedom. I see the same pattern in this afterlife whether it has religious language around it or not.
Brian Smith 44:04
So would you i Some people are going to ask well, why doesn't God sin angels to them are where are there spirit guides? Why do they need
Father Nathan Castle 44:14
their angels or their angels are always with them. But just as a lot of people right now are not aware of the presence of their guardian. I call them a guardian angel. Others might call him a spirit guide or some something else. But a lot of people aren't aware that they have a guardian or that or if they do, they really don't have an active imagination involving them. They don't ask them for anything or any way that they can. Their guardians are always with them. And over time, remember, we've been doing this about 27 years, and I've gotten used to after doing protected prayer with a prayer partner And these work just fine over zoom like we're doing. Today a remote video that you don't during the pandemic, it was impossible to, to travel to be with one another or to be safely in the same room. It works just fine on Zoom. I very often after I've read have done the protected prayer and read the dream story to my part, my prayer partners, after we're still all say we could we please have the assistance of the guardian of the person who brought this story to give a little clarity that might help us today. For example, a person might show me their death in a car accident, but not let me know whether they were male or female. Okay, it's helpful to know that sometimes I have an inkling that I'm not in the United States that I'm in some other country. kind of helpful to know that though, might be Sunday, or there might be a crowd scene. And I'm not sure exactly if I'm helping one person in the crowd, or everybody or what, so the guardians or the love Come on the line, and they'll talk a little bit about give us some clarity. And then then they'll say, now I'm going to slide aside so that the one that I love and assist can tell their story.
Brian Smith 46:15
Okay. Yeah. Yeah, it's, you know, it's it's interesting talking about this, because I've heard some people say that, you know, once we, once we die, that we're suddenly just where we're going to be, we're going to where we're in heaven, or whatever. And I've heard some other people say that we never die alone. But it's it sounds I'm hearing a lot more freewill and what you're talking about,
Father Nathan Castle 46:40
they don't die alone, that they can think that they did. Right. Right. Yeah. And there are people living that way who feel like they're all alone. But when I when I counsel people who are all alone, I push back against that idea. And and say, who loves you? Or who could you call right now, if you wanted some companionship or you wanted to listening here, you're talking to me at least and we're, that's not I'm not not nothing. Anyway, they, they, nobody dies alone, but, but sometimes they can think they do. But on the other hand, I have lots of stories, really beautiful stories of people who didn't pay any attention to their guardian and found at the moment that they were dying in a violent way their guardian, snatched them out of it before the flames could overtake them. Or, you know, they, they know that their body went through the windshield during the crash, but they weren't in it at the time. Right? They were already out of it, because their guardian saw to it. And yeah, so Guardian takes them and sets them aside the rack or the event, whatever it was, and says, do you understand You're safe? You're, you're over here. Your body's over there. You're safe right here. And sometimes they adjust really well to that. They'll say, oh, okay, this, this one lady was she died in her own home and a home invasion. And she was elderly, and she'd fallen and cracked some ribs. She was mostly on her couch, and she lived in the woods. But neighbors brought her vegetables or, you know, some little cook thing. She'd quit going to church because it was just too difficult physically to get there. But she was Christian. And some people showed up at the door. She thought they looked like they were on drugs. And she knew that in the woods, there were people that were doing, you know, cultivating marijuana or I don't know, a lot of our drug problems had moved into rural places. And that's not so uncommon. Anyway, a couple showed up at her door and walked right in. And she said, I tried to muster myself she was I think in her 70s and frail. Much. She said I tried to muster myself and defend my home. Maybe I shouldn't have, because it's that the man gave me one shove, knocked me over. That was all it took. And but she said, but before I could hit the floor, I was above my roof between the roof and the trees above it. And my guardian was there. And she said, I would never have thought that being killed in your home could be so easy. And our Guardian said what I want you to do is pretend that you are a dog that just went swimming, and I want you to shake really hard and shake off everything that just happened. So she did that. And then he said, Now if you would. I think we should leave. It's unpleasant here. The place where you were just murdered, right? Let's get out of here. And she said it reminded me of tandem skydiving that I'd seen on TV. He wanted me to get on his back and fly away. And she thought of tandem skydiving. And she said I would never in my life have jumped out of a plane. Even if it was with somebody that knew what he was doing. He said, I didn't have a better offer in the moment. And he seemed so kind. So I got in his back and we flew away. And so anyway, she and that one was real sweet. Because when we she said, Well, you know, the reason that we're here right now is because it's time for you to move, get again, it's time to make another move. And we usually ask people, can you think of anybody that you loved? That you that died before you did that, you know, loves you? Okay? In other words, do you have somebody on the other side, who you'd be happy to see and who could show you around? Because you go in someplace you haven't been before? You need to know you need a guide. And, and that woman said, Oh, it'd be my sister Seeley. She died, a young woman and I've been talking to her photograph for 40 years. She said, I'd love I'd love it to be her. So we said, well, let's say let's be still and we'll say a little prayer. And we asked for Sealy Cecilia was her name but she went by Seeley and that and then the lady said it was Claire was her name. She said, Oh my God, look at that. She looks like a little tart. Oh, wow. Well, what are you saying? And she said, Well, you remember when, when the airlines were young, they they they made all of the stewardesses be the thin. And they they gave them these little uniforms that look like they were in the military or something. They had little sheep struggle with the word epaulets, those, those fancy braid that's on the shoulder. And she said she's, she's on one of those planes. And she's dressed like that she always wanted to be a stewardess. And she never got to do it. But she's showing she's on one of those planes that you have to walk upstairs to get into it. Like they were in the early 50s. And she's in the little uniform. And she's got a tray with an umbrella drink in it. And she's going to take me in first class. Awesome. Wow. And so she said, It's just girls having a little fun. So that's, that's the way she crossed.
Brian Smith 52:01
So it's interesting. It sounds like her guy took her out of her body, which is going to be a comfort to people, because I know, I just talked to someone earlier today that was saying that, you know, a lot of times we worry about people dying and trauma. Yeah, my understanding is people very often, if not always, they're taken out of their body, even if it looks like the body is suffering. But our guide took her sounds like to like another, like almost a waystation somewhere between there and her final destination.
Father Nathan Castle 52:27
For her it was the space between her roof and the canopy of trees above it. Okay, so she had been there. Yeah. And then, well, she didn't, she wasn't exact about he did fly her somewhere. The somewhere was probably what I've seen a lot, Brian is something like a health care continuum. You know, if if you or I did encounter, like we were in a big accident on the freeway, somebody in an ambulance would show up. And then people with all kinds of different skill sets show up to do what they do. They do it in an orderly way, somebody in the emergency room and then maybe somebody in surgery, or maybe somebody in ICU, all the way to the end where people like me are at the discharge point. So it's very, like very much like that. And, and they they comment upon it that like there was one guy that was from a South American country where he lived in poverty, it might have been Bolivia or Peru, I can't remember. But he had been poor and and he would never, ever have been in a clean a hospital. It just was nothing that would have ever happened. And he said I woke up here and I thought I must be rich, the the sheets are clean. And the food is good. There's there's people that that are always kind and they always do the right thing. They know what I need, and they provide it. So there's something like a health care continuum where people get what they need. And they move through something analogous to the way that we heal here. And when they reach a level of health, they move along.
Brian Smith 54:12
It's really interesting. You say that because there's a guy I interviewed who had a near death experience. And one of the things he said in the interview was he talked about someone being a nurse and in the afterlife. I get so much pushback people are like, how could anybody be a nurse in the afterlife? Everybody's healthy, there's no need for healthcare. Because we've got this projection that we're just mediately you know, we go from here to there. And what I've heard a lot is there is some sort of a healing process that some people do need to go through.
Father Nathan Castle 54:43
Well, and when I was a child being taught about Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, we were told that there would be some who didn't need purgatory who would just go right into heaven. And then from growing around evangelical Christians and my childhood there are a lot I like him this that, that assume that Jesus sweeps up a person in his arms and all as well, and so on. And perhaps that's true for some but then others don't even know him? And would that really be the most appropriate thing? A lot of people are scared of him. A lot of people are told that Jesus is the judge who is going to throw the book at them, or
Brian Smith 55:21
have you encountered people that are like that, that are scared to go to judgment. They're scared that if they move on to, they'll be judged?
Father Nathan Castle 55:28
Well, yes, and no, by the time that I encounter them, they're ready for what? What my prayer partner has an idea. So if they had that kind of fear earlier, they got through it somehow. And they'll you know how I don't know, if you're familiar with the Christian scriptures. I don't know your your background. There, there are places where Jesus will say to His disciples, others have sown the seed and done the cultivating and you're coming in to the harvest, that you're harvesting what you didn't so? Well, I feel like that a lot of the time that I just happened to live in a chain where I provide a service, but it's been preceded by services provided by lots of other people. And they'll, they'll sometimes remark about that. And they'll say, well, they helped me get out, especially the ones that had a trauma loop. Okay, if they were looping about how they died, they really do need to leave that behind. And it can be left behind it just, they just need help learning how to step out about sometimes gradually, I've seen how one, one guy died in a fall from a building. And he he kept falling and falling and falling in his afterlife. He he just couldn't, he couldn't let himself hit the ground. Even though his body actually had done that in his afterlife imagination, he. And his guardian got frustrated with him and said, all we ever do is fall, would you just what can we just take a break and go up instead of down? Would you just get on my back. And we'll go up for a little bit. And as soon as, as soon as you say the word will start falling again, if that's what you want. But he was trying to just give him to show him that he had some autonomy, some authority over his thoughts. Sometimes a person that's in a trauma loop, PTSD suffers, for example, sometimes that's the way out of that sometimes they need to be shown, here's some techniques, when, when you're sick and tired of that, here's some techniques to take a break from it, even if it feels like you have to go back to it in a kind of compulsive way. You could at least take a break. And here's how to do that. And then after a while, maybe they can do that for longer and longer periods until the problem is resolved.
Brian Smith 57:53
Yeah, absolutely. I think well, I work with people in grief and trauma, and you're you're spot on about about trauma and about getting in those loops. And we know it's not good for us. We know it's just causing us pain, we but we still torment ourselves by by going back to that to that event. And so do you have any any suggestions that we can do that people can do now to prepare themselves for? When is our time to cross? Yeah, several,
Father Nathan Castle 58:22
one of them is do your best to live in the present moment, every kind of spiritual teacher of any kind, has some way of talking about the present moment being the most important moment that even in the CS Lewis, did you ever read any CS Lewis? In The Screwtape Letters he talks about, about that the scripted motors and what's my favorite book of all time, and it's, it's this allegory of senior demon in a junior demon in the senior was trying to teach the junior one how to ruin a human soul. And he teaches them, get them get them to focus on the on the past. It's, it's, it's, it's frozen, it no longer moves. We've had great success with widows in this regard. Oh, wow. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, got people to muse about what used to be and will never be again, you can really in the present moment that way. Or, or if you can't do that, try going into the future, which is always the most uncertain part of time, because it hasn't happened yet. So it always has a falseness about it, because anything that they think about the future might not be so and then you can ruin their prayers, which is great fun, you can get them you can get them thinking that they're in charge of the future, but because they imagine it, they want it and so get them praying for the thing they want. And they'll think that the that the enemy, which is which is what Lewis calls God has even taught them to do that they're there to pray about their future and ask for future things. So get them thinking that that that they are in charge of the future that they're imagining. And but then if they're at all advanced, they'll know that They don't always get what they want. So they're gonna have to have a plan B, and then a Plan C, get them praying for all three at once. They'll exhaust themselves. And it's great fun to watch. But anyway, he says, Just get them to get don't let them get on the present moment, because it's the moment most like God is that the present moment is lit, it lit up with those resplendent rays that cast their like gasoline luminosity into the pit of hell. Yeah, the present moment is to be avoided at all costs. So conversely, stay in the present moment the best you can be grateful for the present gift, the ask for the present. strength to deal with the president challenge. That's real important. Yeah. So is forgiveness, forgiving oneself and forgiving others even before they ask you as a Christian tradition, Jesus, he didn't wait till anybody said they were sorry. On the cross, He says, Father, forgive them all. They know not what they do the best. And that's easier said than done. But it's even if you don't feel like you can do it yourself. Go to your higher power and say, I can't get this done myself. But would you give me the help? I need to, to forgive? And then if you have to do it, you know, over a long period of time, well, then be patient with yourself. Forgive them, forgive them forgive and forgive until you don't need to anymore.
Brian Smith 1:01:22
Yeah, absolutely. Or father castle. It has been wonderful speaking with this afternoon. Could you remind people again to the titles of your books, and if you're willing for people to reach out to you if they have questions, or they want to connect with you, let me know, let people know how they could do that.
Father Nathan Castle 1:01:38
Okay, the first one, I don't know if you can see it all the way in the back on the wall, there's a print of the cover of my first book that's an toto to the Wizard of Oz is a spirit My favorite movie. I've written many people have written books about it, but I have my own spin on it. And then that in this series, we've been talking about afterlife interrupted. In the first one, I subtitle it helping stuck souls crossover, we kept the same graphics in the second book that got rid of the word stock, we just crossed through it. And all of the all three of those can be gotten on Amazon they're in. In paper book, e reader book, forum and audiobook and I and my partner's do the audio of the sessions that we took part in my website is Nathan dash castle.com Na Tha N dash CAS t le.com. If people want to communicate with me, please don't use Facebook Messenger. Or ask me a question underneath a YouTube. If you want a response from me go to the website. And it has a forum on there where you it's real simple. You give me a little bit of information. And it shows up in my email, and I try to do the best I can to reply.
Brian Smith 1:02:59
All right. Well, thank you for being here. And thank you for the very important work that you're doing.
Father Nathan Castle 1:03:03
But let me add one more thing I didn't have. I also have a podcast that got launched back in October. It's called the joyful fryer Podcast. I'm a fryer. And our founder, St. Dominic was called the joyful fryer. So that's reason I joined the order. I wanted to be in a joyful place.
Brian Smith 1:03:22
Awesome. And I will put a link to all that in the show notes. So if you didn't catch any of that, that's fine. Just look at the show notes. And they'll it'll be there.
Father Nathan Castle 1:03:31
Okay, well, thanks for the great work you're doing, Brian. All right. Thank
Brian Smith 1:03:34
you for being here. Have a great afternoon. Okay, God bless you. I'm excited to not I have a great new resource. It's called gems, four steps to move from grief to joy. And what it is it's four things that I've found that I do on a daily basis to help me to navigate my grief. And I'm offering it to you free of charge. It's a free download. Just go to my website, www dot grief to growth.com/gems G m s and grab it there for free. I hope you enjoy it.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Author, Retreat Director, Podcast Host
Father Nathan Castle, O.P., has helped more than 500 “stuck” and not-so-stuck souls who died suddenly and traumatically to adjust to the afterlife. Victims of fires, automobile accidents, shootings, stabbings, drownings, and suicides come to him in his dreams seeking help to resolve their Interrupted Death Experiences.
Father Nathan believes that providing such help is something the Holy Spirit has given him and his prayer partners to do. In his Afterlife, Interrupted: books, Father Nathan is quick to point out that not everyone who dies suddenly gets stuck. He is the author of “And Toto, Too: The Wizard of Oz as a Spiritual Adventure” and “Afterlife, Interrupted (Books 1 and 2): Helping Stuck Souls Cross
Over.” Father Nathan Castle, O.P. is from Groves, Texas. Father
Nathan received MA and MDiv degrees from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He served in campus ministries at Arizona State University, Stanford, and UC Riverside. Father Nathan has chaired the Executive Board of the Catholic Campus Ministry