The human being experiences no lack of consciousness when he passes the gate of death. On the contrary, his soul experiences a superabundance of consciousness. He lives and weaves completely in consciousness, and as well as the strong sunlight dazes the eyes, he is dazed at first by consciousness, he has too much consciousness. First, this consciousness must be dampened, so that he can orientate himself in the life, into which he has entered after death. This lasts for a longer time; more and more moments happen in which the consciousness makes such an orientation possible. The soul becomes conscious for a more or less short time and then it again enters into a condition similar to sleep as you may call it. Then such moments become gradually longer and longer, the soul comes more and more in such conditions, until it is able to orient itself entirely in the spiritual world.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Mystery of Death: The Path of the Human Being through the Gate of Death — A Transformation of Life – Hannover, 19th February 1915