The Dark Face of Heaven True Stories of Transcendence Through Trauma by Janet Elizabeth Colli

Trauma initiates the transpersonal. When the skin-encapsulated ego is “split open” through trauma, a natural evolutionary dynamic is triggered. Trauma can initiate one into non-ordinary states and otherworldly realms that support healing. Yet this revolutionary finding is largely unappreciated within traditional psychology. The Dark Face of Heaven is a compelling account of spiritual awakening and psychic openings, out-of-body and near-death experiences (OBEs & NDEs), lucid dreams, and other dissociated, altered states—revealed during trauma therapy.

Those who experience trauma or a dark night of the soul often develop special awareness or enhanced perceptual abilities. Such experience appears to be the portal to a biologically-based transformation of the human personality. Yet such growth or transformation is a natural evolutionary process that anyone can access. Dr. Janet Colli’s transpersonal cases chronicle the healing of a wide range of physical and psychological disorders. Consciousness transforms when our ego identity is threatened and our hearts are challenged to open. Available at

Transformative experiences are a vital part of the psychology of the future. When the power of the sacred is initiated:

  • Eagle, a spirit guide, circles overhead to assist Judith as she negotiates healing from breast cancer. Dissociated aspects of herself—Dark Judith and her snakes—help Judith heal from a traumatic childhood.
  • Abbey’s shamanic abilities stem from a congenital deformity, and the physical trauma of repeated medical interventions. The integration of her dissociated parts—and a Medieval past life—helps her overcome an eating disorder.
  • Two women are saved from drowning by otherworldly guidance during NDEs that help them heal from childhood sexual abuse and neglect.
  • Nick’s authentic near-death encounter begins when a doctor delivers a death sentence while he is hospitalized after a hang-gliding accident. His dissociative skill is later used to lucid dream his own healing from traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The Dark Face of Heaven opens with the discovery of the transpersonal realm within the history of psychology and psychiatry. The first chapter reveals the personal stories of cultural icons: movie stars, rock stars & artists: Frida Kahlo, singer songwriter Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison of The Doors, and comedian Margaret Cho.

The Dark Face of Heaven is based on twenty years of clinical experience with spiritual emergence. Seven true stories reveal the healing dynamic and potential within us all.

Reviews of The Dark Face of Heaven

“You won’t want to miss The Dark Face of Heaven. Dr. Colli is a renowned counselor whose skill dramatically touched the lives of many who were battling grievous trauma. This informative and easy to read book presents multiple inspiring case reports of those who triumphed over the tragedy in their lives. For everyone who has faced seemingly insurmountable challenges in their lives, this highly recommended book offers a profound message of hope and reassurance.”

—Jeffrey Long, M.D.,
Author of the New York Times bestselling Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences

“Anyone who reads newspapers, watches television, listens to the radio, or receives blogs on the Internet is aware of the epidemic of trauma in today's world. Military combat, sexual abuse, bullying, physical and mental illness, and natural disasters can all lead to traumatic experiences. But the story need not end there. THE DARK FACE OF HEAVEN is filled with remarkable accounts of people who emerged from their trauma transformed; what didn't kill them had made them stronger. In this book, Dr Colli tells her readers how to use spiritual awakening, psychic opening, and shamanic imagery to come through their dark night of the soul into a luminescent daybreak, one that is not only life-changing but life-affirming.”

—Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.
Co-author, Haunted by Combat: Understanding PTSD in War Veterans

“Rilke taught us that buried in our deepest fears may lie our greatest treasures. Likewise, in this book, Janet Colli shows us that terrible childhood and other traumas may contain the seeds of personal transformation and profound healing. A master and innovative therapist, Colli demonstrates through recounting a series of inspiring case histories that she has become adept at helping her clients harvest these seeds of renewal and regeneration. The result is a book that offers hope to all those who, like Colli's clients, may be searching for the door that will lead to their own rebirth into wholeness.”

—Kenneth Ring, Ph.D.
Author of Lessons from the Light

“The Dark Face of Heaven is amazing and amazingly powerful. It is a handbook for dark times, and a lifeline. Beautifully conceived, informative and transformative. It will be a part of my life from now on. When storms rage, I have the Dark Face of Heaven to inspire and support me.”

—Whitley Strieber
Author of Communion and host of Dreamland

“The subtle roles of mind, belief and intentionality, as well as our overt behaviors, shape the unfolding of destiny in each human, and hence, our destiny as a species. Each of us must learn to manage these very difficult issues that this book addresses so well.”

—Edgar Mitchell, Sc.D., Ph.D.
Apollo 14 Astronaut.

“I feel totally at peace with this book because I agree with the author. Janet and I have lived the experience of conscious participation in life and health, free of guilt. Our surrender and acceptance of our mortality becomes a therapist and leads to saving our authentic life. We thereby derive physical benefits from the transformation. Self-induced healing is not a spontaneous event. It is created by achieving our true potential through the harmony we create in our new life—free of the wounds of the past. Years ago my articles were refused by medical journals as “interesting but inappropriate,” and by psychotherapy journals as “appropriate but not interesting.” We need to realize that mind, body & spirit are not separate entities but are one, as Janet demonstrates. Medicine and psychiatry need to open their approach to treating the whole person and their experience, and not just the disease. For years, I called myself a Jungian surgeon. Understanding healing as she does, I could say the same thing about Janet—in these therapy stories.”

—Bernie Siegel, M.D.
Author of Faith, Hope & Healing, and A Book of Miracles

“The Dark Face of Heaven shows how traumatic experience often catalyzes ways of knowing beyond the physical. It's a great read, a book that prompts one to search for similar emotional drivers of transformation.”

—Dennis Briefer
Engineer, Inventor, and Board Member of John E. Mack Institute

About the Author

Janet Elizabeth Colli, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist in the Pacific Northwest specializing in spiritual awakening.  With expertise in both Clinical and Transpersonal Psychology, she bridges psychology with transpersonal experience, and healing.  Her research extends to the scientific arena through journal articles and professional conferences of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), and the American Center for the Integration of Spiritual Experiences (ACISTE). Author of the highly acclaimed book, Sacred Encounters: Spiritual Awakenings During Close Encounters, Janet lives on Whidbey Island and swims with wild dolphins in Hawaii.


Janet Colli, Ph.D.
Thomas Beck, Ph.D.
206.329.9235 (Seattle)
360.678.7737 (Whidbey Island)

The Good Shepherd Center
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N., Ste. 341
Seattle, Washington 98103, also
Coupeville (Whidbey Island)

Janet Colli, Ph.D.
Thomas Beck, Ph.D.
206.329.9235 (Seattle)
360.678.7737 (Whidbey Island)

The Good Shepherd Center
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N., Ste. 341
Seattle, Washington 98103, also
Coupeville (Whidbey Island)


Book Quotes

Psycho-spiritual transformation is realizable with help from the subtle realm.

Without a doubt, the growth of the human personality is facilitated through trauma and its recovery. Spiritual emergence naturally unfolds…. Yet such growth or transformation is a natural evolutionary process that everyone can access. Disturbances such as depression, anxiety or physical illness, can be vehicles of growth. Consciousness transforms when our egos are threatened and our hearts are challenged to open. Thus does the emergence of the Self and the collective planetary awakening unfold.


Sacred Encounters is the culmination of 13 years of research bringing together the psychology of close encounters, spiritual experience, and ultimately—enlightenment.
Available at


Janet: In my mid-thirties, dolphins entered my dreams when I was dying from cancer. My physical healing was extraordinary, and I experienced a psycho-spiritual transformation. Dolphin Dreams, my story, is included in Bernie Siegel’s A Book of Miracles. Now I share my own story in depth because of its initiatory power.


Book Quotes

First made manifest through dissociation, altered states are de rigueur for spiritual seekers. Others in past decades employed the use of now illegal “entheogens,” an anthropological term meaning “spirit-facilitating,” a term for a class of substances such as psilocybin, peyote and LSD. But beyond using such substances as access, it is largely trauma that initiates one into the spiritual subtle realm—from whence healing comes.

It is our fail-safe position for the expansion of human consciousness.


Majestic Bald Eagle,
By Thomas Beck
Watercolor and gouache on Fabriano paper. Our national symbol of strength and integrity.


Chapter 6 introduces Judith, who faces breast cancer. Terrified, she is being “devoured alive” by cancer. Her situation seems helpless, out of her control. During EMDR, “Mr. Eagle” appears, an authentic Spirit Guide whose path of learning transforms Judith. Eagle proceeds step-by-step to teach Judith how to deal with her debilitating fear.

“Keep walking down the long road; there will be pain but you have to keep moving,” Eagle says. “When you can’t control your fear, come fly with me!”

Judith is directed to take a plush, stuffed toy eagle into the hospital for Eagle’s spirit to enter. One hour before surgery, Judith calls on Eagle to help calm her. “I can control my fear.” The surgery is a success. In its aftermath, Eagle teaches Judith to compartmentalize pain, just like fear.

Judith learned how to alter her reality early in life through trauma. She now embodies functional dissociation. No longer a victim, she can easily access other realities for healing.



Copyright © 2016 Janet Colli