I read with interest your wonderful book on your Near Death Experience (NDE). I admire you for your courage and your strength to speak your truth in a field where one can be blasted for lack of scientific evidence for anything remotely 'quantum' and not yet detectible by current instruments.
I thank you for your eloquent spokesmanship on the behalf of Heaven. In this work I want you to know that you have my enthusiastic support.
As a Reiki Master who does anesthesia for a living, I can explain a few of the things that you experienced on your NDE:
1) The white and gold spinning column is a vortex: I liken these to the swirl in the tub as the water drains--the surface of the water being Heaven and the bottom end of the vortex being Earth. I used to help open them in my psychic circle with the rest of the group to help souls cross to the Light. I was good at this, and many a soul would stop to thank me before they went up. I could tell they were Home because they got 'quiet' all of a sudden energetically. Many, in spirit, would take my hand and I would guide them to the Light, answering their questions about the process. I would say to look for any color, any Light, and to walk toward it. It would get brighter, more focused, and they would soon make out the faces of their loved ones who were waiting to welcome them. I would reassure them that once they crossed, they could always come back to visit. A trauma surgeon I once knew died suddenly and unexpectedly at her home. She came to me, in spirit after she had passed, and asked me directly, 'what's the deal?'. I said, 'you are without an energetic system--the chakras--and need to either find an energy source to parasite off of or to go to the Light where you will find energy there.' She understood, and she went. Later she came and thanked me. I can make a Vortex at will now, on my own. I placed one in the Doctor's Dining Room at my work, and several other places where Spirit has asked, two in Victoria, BC, one in Anaheim, and two in Big Island Hawaii.
2) The orb: Spirit does make orbs. It isn't always like how we look. Digital photos pick them up. Be sure to look at your digital photos. Some of your loved ones might come back and visit you.
3) Why Dad didn't show up: He might have something to work out with you. My Aunt and my Grandmother came 'to stand for' my father in my first medium session with a professional medium. I too was puzzled and hurt. The next visit, he apologized to me for something that was weighing on his soul from this life. Give your Dad time, and I am sure her will come around. Sometimes they have 'time off' for something like vacation on the Other Side. My grandfather gets this, and my mom and I would have 'visits' and feel his 'presence' for about a week to ten days every year. That Betsy came for you is like what happened to me. No matter what, their love for you is always there to guide and comfort you no matter where you go.
4) The Core: That was the Galactic Central Sun, or Source, as we in psychic circles call it. Guess what? It is going to flash on Friday, December 21, 2012! It lines up with us every year, and it is right on schedule. This one is supposed to be something really special. Prepare yourself for something energetic, with an energy filled with Love that is beyond all understanding. I found your story of going 'up' helpful in case the Ascension experience is something like what you had in your NDE. (the telepathic communication goes with the territory--I have experienced something like that too)
5) Heaven and The Earth-Worm's Eye View: The Heaven you describe, the beautiful fields with joyful people who are simply, but brilliantly dressed, I have seen too. In mine, there is a waterfall that makes music in the distance. The Realm of the Earth-Worm's Eye View only I have seen during fever that led to night terrors as a child. I sensed that confinement, that lower dimensionality to it, and that throbbing pulse. Recently, at a conference in Laguna Beach, with about eighty people, we were told to 'make a sound' and open out throat chakra. The sound that we made together was the most beautiful sound I have heard in this life--there was an energy of Love to it like nothing of this world. I never wanted for it to end...
Once again, mahalos to you for taking a stand and speaking up about Science and Religion are One.
I greatly admire your work. You might also want to take some classes in energy work like Reiki. Now that you are 'open' it will help you be able to 'connect' at will to Higher Realms and also the Higher Realms will be able to better 'connect' with you. Your work is most important for this time.
P.S. all of your descriptions of Time were correct too. That is why prophecy like the Mayan Calendar and other such 'premonitions' are sometimes not exactly correct. There is distortion between the different vibrations of Realms.