Tales of a Southern Pagan Mom

Pagan Afterlife: The Summerlands

photo courtesy of You Belong Integrative Healing Services

I was reading Salem Witch Child’s post from the Pagan Blog Project about the afterlife and how Pagans see it, and thought that I would round out some of my own thoughts on the subject.

I don’t know what I believe about life after death – not concretely, anyway. I was raised to believe that death = death – a cessation of consciousness and all activity; that there was no ‘soul’ that lived on after death. I can see that as a viable alternative to the traditional Christian versions of living in a harp-filled Heaven or being tortured forever in a fiery Hell.

But it doesn’t necessarily ‘fit’ my ideas, either.

I have said before that I have always felt drawn to ancient Egyptian culture, and that if I believed in reincarnation, that I most assuredly lived during that time. Wishful thinking? Maybe… but I don’t think that it hurts anyone if I choose to believe that.

I sort of envision the Summerlands to be a misty or sunny day in the garden – tall enough so that my view is obstructed – the flowers and vines and fruits and vegetables have all of my attention. I am at peace, relaxed and my thoughts drift in a time and place where time has no meaning. I am free to daydream and contemplate things without any demands on my time or for my attention. I may be called, but can chose to answer or ignore the call as I like. Occasionally, others stop by – a presence that I am aware of more than a ‘visitor’ whose arrival and stay demands that I play hostess. It’s more of an ethereal existence and interaction is both faster and slower – all consuming and requiring much less time, focus and effort to accomplish. And I am free to remain in that state until I am moved to leave it.

One reason why this idea fits for me is my relationship with my husband. We’ve known each other for most of our lives, and have been together as a couple for half of them. We do not struggle to be together; being together is far more natural than being apart. Our connection is deeper than just what could be accomplished in a mere decade or two of friendship and love – so where does that connection come from? And if we could have that sort of perfected connection in another realm, why would we choose to leave it?

I feel like the existence in the afterlife is somewhat solitary. I think there are cycles – you tend to be around the same spirits in your life again and again – and sometimes people may come into your life at different times during those cycles. There are a couple of people in my life now that I feel a connection to that is inexplicable – perhaps they have been in my life in previous cycles? I so think that those who are kindred are meant to be in each other’s lives no matter the time and place. Travel and circumstances, acquaintances and people that you meet throughout the course of your life are there for a reason. I know that some of my best friends now are people that I met through people who are no longer a part of my life.

In any case, my ideas about what happens after I die are still forming. I am comfortable with not having a concrete answer to those questions at this time; I don’t know how we can know for certain what happens after death without dying and I am not ready to leave this life yet. If we are reborn in cycles, then I do think that the idea that we have more to learn and living a variety of lives is the way to achieve that end. Whether the ultimate goal is some form of enlightenment or higher existence, I don’t know, and don’t know whether or not that has any bearing on my life at present (other than the need to fulfill my desire to continue learning).

What are your thoughts on the afterlife? What does it look life, what do you do there?

Brightest Blessings,

One response

  1. I can’t seem to pin down my beliefs on the afterlife either. I much prefer the idea that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” as Teilhard de Chardin declared. I don’t think that this life is the end of existence, but what comes next… I’m not sure. Do we “live” on another plane of existence or get divided into heaven/hell sorts of places? Are we someplace waiting to be reincarnated? I’m not sure about that either. What I do know is that I believe we possess a soul/spiritual essence and that it requires that we nurture it just as we do our minds & bodies.

    Like you, I have deep connections to some of the people in my life that far surpass the number of years I’ve known them. I have had people tell me “maybe we knew each other in another lifetime” on more than one occasion or feel like they have met me or known me before, when we’ve just met.

    I’m okay not knowing too because I’m not ready to go anywhere just yet. My hope is that the afterlife is a place where my family & friends who have gone before me will greet me when I arrive & visit me often when I’m there. Guess I’ll find out when the time comes.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:39 AM

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