The great clairvoyant Andrew Jackson Davis once described what happens at death in these words:
"The feet first grow cold. The clairvoyant sees right over the head what may be called a magnetic halo, an ethereal emanation, in appearance golden, and throbbing as though conscious. The body is now cold up to the knees and elbows, and the emanation has ascended higher into the air. The legs are cold to the hips and the arms to the shoulders; and the emanation, though it has not risen higher in the room, is more expanded. The death-coldness steals over the breast and around on either side, and the emanation has attained a higher position near the ceiling. The person has ceased to breathe, the pulse is still, and the emanation is elongated and fashioned in the outline of the human form. Beneath it is connected with the brain. The head of the person is internally throbbinga slow, deep throbnot painful, like the beat of the sea. Hence, the thinking faculties are rational, while nearly every part of the person is dead. Owing to the brain’s momentum, I have seen a dying person, even at the last feeble pulse-beat, rouse impulsively and rise up in bed to converse with a friend; but the next instant he was gonehis brain being the last to yield up the life principle. The golden emanation, which extends up midway to the ceiling, is connected with the brain by a very fine life thread. Now the body of the emanation ascends. Then appears something white and shining, like a human head; next, in a very few moments, a faint outline of the face divine; then the fair neck and beautiful shoulders; then, in rapid succession, comes all parts of the body down to the feeta bright shining image, a little smaller than its physical body, but a perfect prototype, or reproduction in all except its disfigurements. The fine life-thread continues attached to the old brain. The next thing is the withdrawal of the electric principle. When this thread "snaps" the spiritual body is free and prepared to accompany its guardians to the Summer Land. Yes, there is a spiritual body; it is sown in dishonor and raised in brightness."
Andrew Jackson Davis’ vivid description of the moment of death and the releasing of the astral body from earthly confinement is not a simple exercise in imagination. A large body of death research substantiates its accuracy.
Death: One of the trumps of the Major Arcana of the tarot. Numbered XIII. In the system of Eliphas Levi, it corresponds to the Hebrew letter Mem and the heaven of Jupiter and Mars. In the system of the Golden Dawn, Death corresponds to the Hebrew letter Nun and the astrological sign of Scorpio.