Thursday, February 27, 2014

Conceptualization of the Afterlife By: Elizabeth Cheryl

This entry will explore the Neo-Pagan religions and their views of the afterlife.
The myths, stories and theosophical term “Summerland.”  
We will explore the diverse views of Wicca and other religions wonderments in regards to the astral planes of our souls.
The term “Neo-Pagan” can be a confusing combination of words. It is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of modern religious movements, particularly those that date back to Pre-Christianity
Their beliefs are diverse and no one set of beliefs are shared by all of them, although there are commonalities shared by most.
Theology can be broadly categorized in three streams.
1.     Polytheism – (Belief in many God’s)
2.     Pantheism – (Belief that the whole reality is divine)
3.     Animism – (The belief that spirits are active in all aspects of the environment)
Some religious movements have a connection with the divine feminine (monotheistic) or the feminist goddess orientation. Somewhere under the umbrella, neo-pagan traditions proliferate.The pagan umbrella can also include agnostics, polytheistics, eclectics, druids, shamanists, re-constructionists (Norse, Celtic, Kemetic..ect..) or any of the indigenous religions (American Indian, Australian Aboriginal, African)So as you can see not all Pagan’s faiths are nature (earth) based and not all Pagan’s are Wiccan’s or Witches.So with all of this said the following workshop is to give you information about Neo-Pagan religions and what they believe happens to the soul after death. If your character is pagan or Wiccan or a witch then you might want to focus your questions on the subject of the “Summerland.” If your character falls under another category of the umbrella then we will answer and explore that particular belief system.

Where does the soul go according to Wiccan’s?
Wicca, in common with many other religions, recognizes Deity as dual. The Goddess and the God are equal. Not distant in heaven but omnipresent throughout the universe.
As in Eastern religions, Wicca also embraces the doctrine of reincarnation, although Wicca doesn’t teach that upon death our souls do not reincarnate into anything but another human body. Wicca does also not embrace the theory that our souls existed in any form like a rock, tree, snake or a bird before we evolved. Though these creatures and substances are thought to possess a type of soul, it is not thought to be near what a human might possess.
Reincarnation or Re-birth; the once universal doctrine, which taught that the Ego is born on this earth an innumerable number of times, means only the re-birth of the Ego in another form. One might think that it makes sense to believe in it when we feel like we remember things we have never done in this life. We may ask ourselves why we are attracted to places and people who we have surely never seen before. We may have traits or habits in our life that seem to be present and hard to break. We may feel as if maybe we are working on changing things in ourselves that we know are our own personal demons for a better knowledge and peace for the next go around. It is commonly believed that a soul is not female or male but its own energy. That when a soul is placed in our human shape it brings with it experiences form the past life. Some of those experiences come in the form of lessons. The things that we may not have done correctly in the previous life will now try again in a different human shape. This cycle is thought to continue until we have perfected life. At this point we reach what is called, Nirvana.
Nirvana is a universally accepted term with many religions. According to Sanskrit, it is compared to “blowing-out” like the flame of a candle, the utter extinction of existence. But in the exoteric explanations it is the state of absolute existence and absolute consciousness, into which the Ego of a man who had reached the highest degree of perfection and holiness during life, goes after the body dies, and occasionally, as is the case of Gautama Buddha and others, during life.
Until the Ego can reach Nirvana, it is believed to rest in somewhere in the Milky Way of existence called, “The Summerland.” Summerland is a fancy, theosophical term given by the spiritualists to the abode of their disembodied spirits. This place is not darkness and oblivion, but rest from the toils of physical existence. It is human existence between incarnations. Some describe it as the land of eternal summer, with fields of flowers and flowing rivers, perhaps the earth before humans. Maybe a place where energy swirls and co-exist with their Goddess and God’s in their celestial identities.


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