Johnny Burke: Welcome to Closer to Venus. I’m Johnny Burke today’s guest is Ray Catania. He is a metaphysical teacher, life coach and author of several books, including The Atheist and the Afterlife. He’s also a near-death experience survivor and as a practitioner of scientific spiritualism. His work involves coaching others how to achieve higher levels of conscious awareness. Today we’ll discuss how his near-death experience reshaped his view of spirituality. Ray, welcome to the show.
Ray Catania: Johnny, thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor and a privilege to be with you today.
Johnny Burke: Excellent. Now, you’ve studied with many different types of teachers, energy healers, mediums, even shamans. Was this prior to the near-death experience or did that happen afterwards?
Ray Catania: That, that’s all after when, that was part of my quest to seek the, the truth of what had transpired. My near death was very early, in my youth, it was 20 years old. I consider that still a kid, but, it took many years to really come to terms with what I saw, you know, because at the age of 20, I didn’t want to accept the reality of what it was, so I just kind of boxed it up and left it there and didn’t deal with it until many years later, and that’s when I started to pursue answers and the truth from mentors and schools and things of that nature.
Johnny Burke: That’s a really good point. I’ve noticed that a lot of the people that have the near-death experiences also known as the NDE, don’t necessarily realize it right away, and sometimes it’s years later that they finally start to put the pieces together and they realize what it was. Also they don’t really disclose it to their friends and family, for obvious reasons the average length of the disclosure is like 10 years. So it’s not like it’s next month.
Ray Catania: Oh, so I’m not the only one.
Johnny Burke: No. No, you’re not. No. I noticed that when I first started interviewing people from IANDS, that nonprofit that does all the studies and logs, all the different experiences, and there’s quite a few of them. So getting back to the teachers, the healers and mediums and the shamans, it’s an interesting group. What do you suppose those three types have in common?
Ray Catania: The spirituality and the belief in the afterlife. the belief in energy and how it permeates all of our lives. And, the universe, there’s some common denominators amongst all of them, although spiritual, there’s a certain aspect of even a scientific element to it, if you will. I also studied at the University of Sedona, and I’m getting my PhD in metaphysics and metaphysical sciences takes into account science as well as spirituality. And that was a big learning experience for me as well. I think the mixture of the two is what really gave me a better understanding of the world around me.
Johnny Burke: Okay. You practice what you call, a scientific spiritualism and obviously you studied with mediums, so spiritualism; I believe has its origins in the mediumistic movement, doesn’t it?
Ray Catania: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, the title of first book is Atheist and Afterlife because I was an atheist, essentially. I had a lot of traumas in my youth. Didn’t have a very pleasant childhood to say the least. And I used to kind of isolate myself for many hours at a time, and it was the equivalent of meditating for say, five, six hours a day, seven days a week.
And when you do that, you start to be able to see, feel, energy. You’re not just staring at a wall anymore, but you can actually see what the wall’s made of. And as I got older, the things that I had witnessed and seen and been subject to, I just couldn’t believe that there was a higher power. And also, I wanted to rebel against my parents, probably to some degree, right? Because they were Christian, and I didn’t want to be Christian. And then, at the age of 20, there was a fire in my home and my room is located above the kitchen where the fire was. The stove was leaking gas for several hours, and that’s really what did me in was the gas. As I’m sleeping in the room.
My mother must’ve gone down to turn on the stove to cook something in the morning, and she turns on the stove and it went poof. And then, the wall caught on fire. But the way I understand it was that they put it out pretty quickly. But they call 9 1 1 and you know, the fire trucks arrive, and the police arrive and I’m hearing this commotion. And so it wakes me up, but when I try to get out of bed, I find that I can’t. I can’t move certain parts of my body at all. My legs were just paralyzed. My, my jaw, my face, so I couldn’t yell. my whole left side felt like it was paralyzed. My arms were kind of like the only thing that I could say worked. And so what I tried to do was pull myself to the edge of the bed as quickly as I could, but I would keep passing out en route to the edge of the bed.
And I knew in that moment, I mean, I was going to die if I did not get out of that bed. So I pulled with all my might the last time, I got to the edge, and I fell face first, I felt no pain. Nothing. At that moment, I was no longer in that lifeless body.
I was dead physically. I was dead, but I was still in the room on the ceiling looking down and I’m looking at my lifeless body and then to the right of me is this huge beautiful white cone shaped spotlight on me, which the feeling that this gives you the euphoria that comes from this light; you’re one with that light. I wish there were more adjectives that I could think of to describe it, but it was euphoric. And there’s a being at the end of the light, I don’t know if it’s male, female. There really was no physical body to the being. And they said, “it’s okay, Ray, you can come into the light” letting me know it was safe, basically.
Johnny Burke: You heard someone say that? Was it verbalized or not necessarily?
Ray Catania: You don’t hear. Right. But you listen, and I have no idea how to explain that. It’s information that goes from them to you. It’s not necessarily you’re hearing it, but yeah, there was definitely somebody there or something there. And later I’ll find out what that is. But at this point I don’t know yet. So I begin to go in further and further and the euphoria increases and it’s fantastic. It’s absolutely amazing. At this moment, my father runs into the room. And he scoops up my lifeless body and he’s distraught, and he and I did not have a good relationship, to say the least. but in that moment, what I was watching was his feelings for me, it was probably one of the few times he ever hugged me, and it was when I was dead.
So I wanted to go back there and experience that because I wanted that relationship so bad, even though this light was everything. I asked the being if I could go back and I said something like,” I can’t leave him like that. “Meaning he was screaming for the paramedics and crying. When I came to, shortly thereafter, I was in the living room. Now I was no longer in the bedroom. And the paramedics are working on me with their tools and gadgets and whatever they’re doing. The one guy saying to the other, “we got to get the truck, we got to get this guy in immediately. ” I said, guys,” I’m fine. I feel fantastic. In fact, I feel better than fantastic”. And I was like, “anybody see the light? Did you hear the voice? That was, that was crazy, right? “And now they’re looking at me like I’m crazy.
So I shut this down very, very quickly because, just like the energy I saw as a child when I brought that up, that did not go over. So, I know when to shut up. So I did, they took me to the hospital and, I don’t remember exactly if it was the same night, but when that euphoria wears off. It’s almost like Novocain, right? You feel fantastic, but then it does wear off and it’s like a bomb goes off inside of your body. The pain is unbelievable. So you go from being complete energy, nobody, no feeling, no nothing, to every little ache and pain that you’ve ever had is now magnified by 10. I had hoped that I was going to have this newfound relationship with my dad, but that unfortunately never did happen.
And then I just wished I had gone into the light. I was very disappointed with myself. I wanted a do-over. I just didn’t want to live. I wanted to go back to the light, but. I had to rationalize this because I did try to mention it, and it was immediately shot down with.” That didn’t happen.” My mother was in complete denial. She’s like, “you’re outta your mind.” And I kind of understand that too, because if I lost my kid on my watch, I’d probably be in denial myself and had to be very traumatic for her as well. It wasn’t until the release of the book that she actually acknowledged it.
Johnny Burke: It took that long?
Ray Catania: Yeah. Yeah, she was 82. and we bonded in that moment. I mention it like once or twice with family doesn’t go over. I mention it with friends. They tell me I’m insane. Okay, let me just put this in the pile with the other energy stuff that I’ve seen in the past and let me box this up and put it away. So I have to think about what happened rationally, and this is how I do it. I figured I fell out of bed on what was a sunny day, and the sun that was coming through the window was the white light. I had been inhaling gas fumes for many hours. Nobody really knows how long, and that caused my hallucinations to think that I was up on the ceiling. That’s how I put it away.
Johnny Burke: That’s how you boxed it up, right? But it doesn’t explain how you actually talked with some type of a being that said, “it’s okay. “And what I’ve noticed, because I ask almost everyone, about these types of experiences, how do you know it’s not your imagination? And the answer is almost always. There’s no way I could have imagined that. Everything was real. The details, the feeling, and so on. So the next step I would imagine is when you sought out the mediums and the shamans.
Ray Catania: No, no, not right away. Because here’s what happens after I’m 20, right? So maybe a year or two later and I get my first bachelor pad, right? I’m moving out of the house. Now what happens is I have a relationship with energy, and I’ve crossed over and I’ve come back and I’m really trying to hold onto these atheistic beliefs. Because it’s simpler that way. It’s just simpler. I don’t have to think. And I don’t care if I die. Because somewhere in the back of my mind, I kind of know this is legit, but I’m not bringing it to the forefront. So I get my own place and I’m like, this is going to be great. We’re going to have parties and chicks and this and that, and blah, blah, blah.
None of that ever happens. Okay? Because as soon as I walked into that apartment, it felt like it was filled with people, and sure enough, it was filled with energies. You could see them. I could see them going across the black lines, across the white paint. And I could see them out of the corner of my eye, the swivels, and you could feel the differences in the energy. I was very, very adapt to this. Essentially, I crossed over, they came back with me and they’re like, this guy can see us and hear us, we’re not leaving him, but I’m pushing this away and I’m literally saying to you, I don’t believe in you. Get out of my house. I do not believe in you,
Johnny Burke: This sounds a lot like what NDE Experiencers talk about after the fact. It’s an elevated sensibility, seeing energy, seeing spirits or whatever. Does that sound like what happened to you?
[Ray Catania: Yes, very much so. It’s exactly right. I’m now trying to convince myself that this is not real, but it’s really pushing itself upon me. And, you know, they can play with electricity obviously, so the phone dies and I have a landline, just gets cut off. You’re changing the channel, and the TV goes off. I must have had the maintenance guy check my apartment 50 times and he’s like, listen kid, you’re nuts. There’s nothing wrong with your place. Don’t call me anymore.
So I’m petrified I can’t sleep. So I start doing alcohol, drugs, and I mean in massive quantities to go to sleep. It was beyond anything. I’m surprised I’m alive and I move out because I’m frightened. I go into a new place thinking, this is not going to be haunted, right? Same thing. Same exact thing. New place. The houses aren’t haunted. Ray’s haunted. Now I have to come to terms with this. What am I going to do from here? More drugs, more alcohol? That’s exactly what I did from there. I was not ready to accept it, and I didn’t know what to do with it? Who can I trust? Who’s going to not think I’m completely insane?
Now I get married and I have two children of my own. And now I have a reason to live. I go back to college. I get a real job, I’m working in New York. I work my way up the corporate ladder. I come back to New Jersey. I worked for a larger firm. I worked my way up the ladder. Unfortunately my marriage had fallen apart very, very quickly. I think it was like three years in and the marriage was over, but the kids were still with me. So I knew that I had to figure out a way that we could all get along . And I managed to do that. Somehow, I guess it was more or less like, you guys don’t drive me crazy. I’m not going to talk to you, I’m not going to address you. And I guess they finally accepted that. but they were there, they’re present. And during that time, when I was still very self-sabotaging. I would put myself in high-risk situations. I would have brushes with death, not an actual NDE, but I came really close, a car accident. I started working for some bad people and a shootout in a bar would be like a regular Tuesday, and we had so many other instances I was almost beaten to death, within inches of my life. And every time these things occurred, because chaos is my comfort zone, right? That’s what I’ve had my whole life. So I think this is normal.
Anyway, the being that’s my spirit guide. He is with me, getting me out of those situations. Even in the shootout in the bar, he told me what door to go out of and I said, “you’re crazy. I can’t go out that door. They’ll see me. ” I was hiding. I was hiding under the bar, and he “no side door, side door, side door, side door.” that’s what I kept hearing. So I went out the side door and I had to go down another corridor, out another door, my car was right there outside the door. Don’t you know, I’ve never parked it there. My regular parking spot was on the other side of the building, but for some reason that day I parked it on that side.
Johnny Burke: When did your spirit guide start showing up? Was this like towards the beginning or,
Ray Catania: I think it was the being in the NDE. I think that they’re one and the same. And I actually came to that realization very recently because I’m starting to revisit this more and more, and it’s dawning upon me that it’s, it always felt that same, vibration. It was always that same feeling that I always got from him. I’m calling him a him, but I don’t know for a fact. Now, fast forward. Okay. I got a divorce. I’m in my thirties, approaching forties. everything’s kind of at rest, so to speak. I still don’t sleep well. I’m not using drugs and alcohol. I’ve never had a drink since. And kids are growing up and I decide that I’m going to start dating again.
Now I’m in my forties. And I’m nervous about dating I went online, and I was looking for a site to join and they give you a couple of examples of women that you might like to get you to join the site. Well, the example I saw, as soon as I saw her, I said, oh my God, that’s her, that’s my wife. That is her. And I joined that site immediately and I only sent one email and it was to her. And I told her that. I said, this is the only email I’m sending because you are my future wife. You just don’t know that yet. I said it in a funnier way and luckily, she found it funny. So she got back to me, and we are married still to this day.
But here’s what happens when I meet her, no longer are the beings at bay. I’ve never seen them in human form. I’ve never seen anything like that yet the first time. A man comes to me and he’s almost like front and center. Like right here in my third eye. Okay. It’s not with my eyes, not my ears. It’s in here. And like a movie screen kind of opens up and he’s talking to me. And there’s this man talking to me. And he says the same thing over and over. He says,” I effed up. I made a mistake. You can help her. I cannot.” I have no idea who the man is. I have no idea what that means, and I just take it in, and I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t even know what I just saw. Now, this begins on a Friday, and he persists every hour on the hour to say the same thing. And then the next day it happened twice as much, maybe every half hour, right?
By the third day, by Sunday. It seemed like it was every five minutes, and I could no longer function. I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t think. I couldn’t hold a thought. And I remember that I was in a store, and I was trying to pay for my merchandise, which was on the counter. And I don’t know what I did. I must have just frozen or whatever I did. And the lady behind the counter goes,” sir, are you okay”? And I said,” no, no, I’m not.” And I went back out to my car. I said, this is it. I’m insane.
I need help. I got to put myself someplace, I got to do something with this. I can’t live like this anymore. I start to figure out is my will done? Yes it is. Check. My brother has my DNR because I’m not coming back. I’m going to the light. I made sure affairs were in order and then I have to tell this woman whom I just, I love that sorry, I’m crazy. And, you know, this has to end quickly.
The irony in this is just too much. She is by trade, a Doctor of Psychology and neuropsychology. Go figure. Right? Can’t make this stuff up. I figure, okay, here’s the deal. I’m going to lose her anyway. I may as well get the help I need. because she can probably point me in the right direction she’s going to give me a name and a number, call this person and never call me again. That’s not the reaction I get at all.
I proceed to tell her what I see and how I see it. And she says, ” sounds like my dad. He died about 10 years ago”, and I was like, “what do you mean your dad?” She goes, “well, I’ve been to mediums, I’ve been to a lot of mediums, and he comes through he’s very powerful, just like you said, front and center.”
And I said, but this doesn’t look like your dad at all. I saw that picture, and in the picture, he was clean shaven. This guy’s a husky guy and he’s got a beard and a mustache and thick black hair, nothing like that picture. And she goes, “whoa, whoa, whoa, timeout. She goes, that’s a 25-year-old picture. Let me show you what he looked like day to day. “She goes through her phone, she says, “here you go”. I said,” oh my God. You know that man?” She said, “that’s my dad, silly. This is great. He’s talking to you.” I said, this is not great. This is not great at all. “
Johnny Burke: Not great at all
Ray Catania: No, this is not great.
Johnny Burke: This is a pretty incredible story. So let’s jump to because you’ve got all the intuitive empath experiences,
Now, you practice what you call a scientific spiritualism. When does that come into play in your life and your practice?
Ray Catania: The first thing that happens is I need to find out am I a medium, right? So she brings me to a medium. She says, why don’t you guys talk, compare notes, and you’ll be able to figure out if you’re doing this right , whatever it is. And I had so many questions.
I didn’t even know what a medium was. So we sat together, and I told her what I feel and how I feel it, how it happens. And she said,” relax. That’s exactly how I see it.” And we went through each type of premonition that I get and she’s like”, relax. That’s how I see it”. I was like, okay. So she became my first mentor. But there’s still the skeptical part of me now that part is still researching the NDE. I’m reading books voraciously on everything from Eckhart Tole to Joe Dispenza to Deepak Chopra. But at the same time, I’m studying. Einstein, Tesla, Neils Boer, you name it. All, all the rockstar physicists from the past. Because I’ve got to find a connection so that I can digest this as real. I have to figure out how this works to convince myself I’m not crazy because for years and years and years, everyone had me believing I was crazy, or I had myself believing it, right? Because anytime I mention it, I was crazy. So I needed that combination.
And a year later I get my next mentor, which how that happens is a crazy story in and of itself. It’s my birthday. It’s been one year since I got the first mentor. And we always do something for my birthday, and we go away. And this year we went away, and we were in this cabin in the middle of nowhere because that’s where I wanted to go. And so we’re there and I’m practicing my meditation and things, and she takes out a picture that’s hand drawn of her dad. And I said, “wow where’d you get that? She says, “well, one of the mediums drew it. He’s a spirit artist.” And I was like,” that is exactly the way I see him. That same shirt is the way I saw him. And I continue to see him, and she says, well, this is so and so medium, Joe in the book. And I say,” well, I got to find this guy. How do I find him?”
So we looked him up on the internet and. Right on his front page, it says, now, taking applications for a two-year mentorship program with Medium Joe, you have to submit your application by February 15th to be considered. And my birthday is February 15th. She’s like, are you going to submit your application? I said, are you kidding? If that’s not universal intervention, I don’t know what is. So. it’s a long process to be accepted because I had to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that I was the real deal and its application after application and interviews and everything.
I was the 11th. That’s it. 11 people were in this program out of hundreds. So I went from not being real, but being put into a class of other people who are highly experienced, and I’m like, whoa, this is unbelievable. He really guided me for not only the next two years. I’m still with him and it’s like five years later and I’m never leaving him. I saw him this morning and he taught me so much about not just spiritualism, he taught me so many different things, law of attraction, vibration, everything, and now.
I always have to see what’s under the hood. So here’s where the science comes in. As he’s teaching me these concepts, I’m trying to figure out how they work because I need to know this. And I remember when he gave me the meditation for manifestation using, the laws of vibration and the laws of attraction. I was like, I’m not going to do this. This sounds crazy. I had a situation where my kid was going to college and he was going away to school and the school called me and they said, “Ray, you have to deposit another $10,000. ” Oh my God. You know, I miscalculated by $10,000. I got like a couple of days to come up with this money. Where am I going to get this from? I don’t have it. So I’m like, okay, let’s see if this works. And I do everything that I’m supposed to do. Exactly the way he says to do it. He says to do it twice a day. And I don’t do it two times a day. I do it six times a day because this is my son and he’s got to go to school. And so at the end of the first day, nothing, it was around five o’clock and my other son brought me the mail and I just threw it down and I noticed there was a big envelope and I took the envelope.
I looked at it and it was from my accountant; I had just done my taxes. I need $10,000. I can’t pay my tax bill right now.
I threw it to the side. I was upset. Next day, six more times, I do it again all day. I’m on my knees , send me 10,000, I need 10,000. So at the end of the second day, nothing happens again, I decide to open the mail. And I took out the first letter and the first letter says, Dear Ray, thank you for your business. You owe me X amount of dollars for filing your taxes. Okay, great. Put that one aside. I take out the next letter and it says, dear Ray, you have overpaid the government by $8,200 and something -something dollars. And I read it like three times. Overpaid. And I’m stunned. I put it down, I take out the next letter and this one says, you’ve overpaid the state of New Jersey, $1,800 and something -something dollars. And that’s a little over 10,000. Exactly. And I fell to my knees and wept like a child and became a believer to say the least.
It was my quest to figure out, well, how did I do that so that I could tell other people what makes that work? And this is where I start learning Tesla’s, the secrets of the universe. He tells us energy, frequency, vibration couldn’t be truer because what we’re doing is we’re sending out a signal and it’s on a frequency, and I need 10,000, and I’m putting that out. It’s like attracts like, it doesn’t matter if it’s a tangible item or an item. It’s going to find the item and it’s going to bring it to you. It has to be done in a certain way. And in the second book I go into not only how to do it, but I also explain how this works. And it’s very similar to a cell phone. If I pick up my phone and I dial your number, my frequency goes to your frequency, they match, and we can communicate. Very simple. That’s exactly the same functionality behind the law of attraction. A satellite dish and a radio, the same thing. You tune it in. The old-fashioned radios. If you’re a little off, guess what? You don’t get to hear the music. You got to be right on point. this is why a lot of people don’t get what they’re looking for because you got to be right on point.
It’s a little more difficult than most people think, but it’s doable and it’s real. Now I’m learning and I’m like, I need more of this. What makes this work? What makes that work? What makes this work? And now the second book is all about how things work. So you get my story of how I used it, how I replicated it, you also get the backstory of what’s under the hood, how does this actually happen? That was the concept of the second book.
Johnny Burke: And that second book is titled,
Ray Catania: You’re still alive now act like it
Johnny Burke: okay. And the first book, was the Atheist and the Afterlife. So it seems to be pretty easy to deduce from that title that your experience with the NDE obviously changed your view of spirituality. So for the atheists among us, for anybody who might be listening, what’s the biggest takeaway from this entire experience?
Ray Catania: You know, the NDE was the catalyst for me to become a believer. Now, I know you can’t self-induce and you should never try to self-induce an NDE .However you can look at the studies and like you mentioned, IANDS which is a fantastic organization. You can’t speak to a thousand plus people- and we all say the same thing; we’re always in the corner of the room. There’s always the light, there’s just too many commonalities. That’s not a physical thing like the medical textbooks is telling us., It’s not. That feeling, like you said, that euphoria, you can’t make that up. So there’s just too many commonalities. Follow the dots, follow the line. It will lead you to a place where if you don’t become a believer right away. You’ll at least be curious enough to go a little deeper and a little bit further like I was,
Johnny Burke: Okay. anything else we should know about the topic?
Ray Catania: If you are experiencing things, find a mentor. Because remember I thought I was crazy and it wasn’t until I actually found somebody that could, put their arm around me and say, Hey, I’ve been there. my parents thought I was crazy too. Here’s my story. Let me help you. and finding somebody reputable. I got very lucky. I had a couple of great mentors. But seek the help that you need. Don’t make the assumption like I did that your life is over when it might just be the very beginning.
Johnny Burke: It might be the beginning. And I, you make a very, very good point about getting a mentor. For those of you, who have had similar experiences, IANDS, and I will leave a link in the show notes as well as a really, really good resource.
Ray Catania: Yeah, they’re fantastic.
Johnny Burke: All right. Ray, thanks for joining us today. How can our listeners find you online?
[Ray Catania: http://www.raycatania.com is my website where you can find information about the books or coaching or anything you wish there. If you want to contact me, you can just submit the contact form.