From a commentary within
"The Tibetan Book of the Dead" given by Chogyam Trungpa :
Bardo means gap;
I feel like this is a good place to start.
I've also heard it translated as the "in-between" the state between states if you will.
In my question however I was specifically asking about
The Bardo of the Moment Before Death
From death, which the Tibetan Buddhists will always be kind enough to remind you is a certainty in life... , what directions can you "flow" through your karmic river?
Not a trivial question, and for schools outside of the Mahayana, sometimes deemed a meaningless question. At which point both schools tend to stagnate in circles of missing each others points.
Continuing from the commentary though I will go through the stages in order.
The first basic bardo experience is the experience of uncertainty about if one is actually going to die, [quote continues]
Here the commentary veers to talk of the 6 realms before returning to the Bard experience and Bardo visions.
The first vision that appears is the vision of the peaceful divinities.
A description of what is meant by peaceful follows here,
The state of absolute peacefulness seems to be extremely frightening, [quote continues]
I am cutting quotes short and pulling the minimum needed for context here. To type out the entire descriptions of each stage would require much time and effort. Also, for each stage there are different ways one can react, that can cause things to happen in different orders or certain outcomes... The general feel of the stage, in the typical order that they might occur is what we are trying to illustrate here.
Next the experience of the wrathful deities
Followed by a section where the word luminosity is used a lot, A vivid "visual" experience accompanied by a loud sound. The sound and "visual" are intangible as you do not have a body at this time. I do not know what to call this stage.
The first day
After four days of unconsciousness following the luminosity you "awake"
and realize you have died and that this is the bardo state
the reverse of samsaric experience occurs. (?? What the author means by this is not entirely certain ??)
Some kind of increase in intelligence and awareness is described here...Exact details aren't written here, but it seems to be of some magnitude, and I have heard in one lecture 9x the living intellect is assumed.
Blue light -- appearance of Vairocana (The one with faces in all directions)
A vision of the Realm of the gods occurs here in tandem, blue light is terrifying, white light is comforting, a long tangent about the realm of the gods is here,running in fear to the white light the second day begins.
The second day
White light --Vajrasattva-Aksobhya appears
Accompanied by male and female bodhisattvas, bright light shines from them (White) also a dull grey light is present (hell light, associated with hell realm)
The third day
Yellow light -- Ratnasambhava appears
Dim light of the human world
The forth day
Amitabha and red light
The fifth day
Green light -- Amoghasiddhi
42 peaceful deities appear
Four gate keepers
East Gate, heruka known as Victorious One appears in wrathful form, his form inspires such awe that one does not even consider trying to pass through the gate.
South Gate : Enemy of Yama
West gate : Hayagriva with a horse head, awakes one from passsions
North gate : Amrtakundali with an anti-death potion
No escape through any gate, those overcome by fear that try to flee are captured by goddesses accompanying the gate keepers (Various ways are described)
Those trying to escape through the gates are stopped by the gate keepers, those attempting to kill themselves to escape are revived by Amrtakundali.
Being forced to face the six realms (Order listed is God / jealous god / human / animal / hungry ghost / hell realm but it does not specify if it must be in this order)
One must face the Buddha of each realm, this stage occurs in the heart center
The seventh day
Green light disappears, experience moves to the throat center, vidyadharas appear
Not much is said here
Note : Answer is still in progress, the commentary is finished and a basic outline is present, I will be adding details and clarifying things as I continue to read the book. I also have an audio lecture I will be re-listening to, and using it to add details to each stage. There are still some stages I know of that have not been mentioned in the commentary. (The karmic mirror stage, the taking the body of your next life stage) I will insert them appropriately when found