Summerlands part 3

Belief in reincarnation or the spiral of life, death, and rebirth is a major part of the Wiccan religion. Every form of Wicca I have ever heard of believes in and accepts the concept of having multiple lives. I know there are a few Witches that aren’t thrilled about having to keep coming back , but they believe in it as just a common fact of existence. On this page, I will discuss common Wiccan beliefs about death and reincarnation as well as my personal beliefs. I will tell you what I was taught before you read any further… reincarnation is not something you must teach yourself to believe, it’s something you must know in your heart and believe in without a doubt. Never force yourself to believe in anything, it’s what you feel inside that is right for you, no matter what anyone else believes in. 

General Reincarnation and Death Beliefs
All Wiccan believe in something different, that is one of the many things makes this religion and way of life so great. Most factors of Wicca include a basic book type description from which you can base your ideas on. The basic Wiccan belief of reincarnation is that you are energy, a shapeless, sexless form that moves from one body which is no longer needed to the next. You are placed on Earth to learn a lesson. Each incarnation you are born into, you must learn or relearn a different lesson through experiencing a variety of different lifestyles. When you have learned all you need to learn in your present life, you move on, die. Death is not seen as a punishment or a bad thing, but in a way, it’s a good thing. It means you have completed one step on the incarnal ladder. 

After you die, you are brought to the Summerland which is kind of like the Wiccan equivalent of Heaven, but since we have no devil, we have no Hell. The Summerland is where the spirits that presently do not have an earthly body wait for the right time to return to Earth. It is known by many names and is often referred to as the Land of Eternal Summer and seen as a gorgeous, lush green field, with beauty and trees all around you, with a bright blue sky and a few puffy white clouds, cute little animals… *sigh* 

Anyway, moving on, when you enter the Summerland after death, you review your life and see what you did right and what you did wrong and need to change. This isn’t judgment! You are not punished, but you are taught through karma what you need to learn. For example, if in this life you made fun of all overweight people, then in your next life, chances are you’ll be an overweight person who is made fun of constantly. This wouldn’t be to punish you, but to show you what the people you made fun of went through and how it hurt them. You may not know it in your earthly life why you are being made fun of and it will probably seem unfair, but when you die and review your life, that is where you will be shown, ‘this is why that happened. 

So as you live and die and live again, your soul learns and grows and you become a better person until you achieve your final incarnation… Then, no one knows what happens. After you have reached enlightenment and no longer have to return to Earth, then what? Well, no one knows for sure. Many believe it’s simply because what happens then is beyond the comprehension of the human mind. We only use ten percent of our brains, knowledge that advanced sure would be pushing our little brains! So everyone has their theory of what happens after the mysterious final incarnation. It’s a very fun thing to think about and is a good start into customizing your religious experience. My personal beliefs about reincarnation are in the next section below, but they are just my beliefs, they didn’t come from any book and I don’t claim them to be in any way an accurate representation of any form of Wicca, other than my own.  

The final incarnation in my eyes… I believe in reincarnation in the same way as described above. I also have my own beliefs on what happens after your last incarnation. Reincarnation is something I have always believed in before I discovered I was Wiccan. My belief about how reincarnation works has never changed. Most Wiccan don’t believe that humans start out as a rock or animal like some other religions, because we are all equal. In my opinion, all humans, animals, and plants reincarnate as their species. Each incarnation, you return to Earth as your own species, but in a different situation. You may be a Caucasian female one life, and an African American male next time, but you’re always a human. After your final incarnation, you have a choice of what you want to do from there. The options you are given are to return to Earth to begin another round of human incarnations, to return as another species, to stay in the Summerland, or to become a spiritual benign such as a spirit guide, angel, or through time something such as an elemental. That’s what spirit guides and angels are souls that have completed their incarnations and are qualified to assist those of us that are still on Earth learning and help us know what we need to learn. 

All religious systems have a place where the soul ascends (or descends) when the physical body can no longer function. In Craft belief, we call this place the Summerland. This is the resting place- the way station, if you will- for souls to recover, and categorize information and lessons we have learned. We have no Hell, or place of terror or damnation. Reincarnation- the logical process of living, dying, and living again on the earth plane. Some religions also believe in transmigration, where an individual’s soul may enter not only the body of a human, but the body of a plant or animal. In most Witchcraft Traditions, reincarnation is the accepted theology for dealing with the subject of death and rebirth. We move with the seasons, the cycle of the Wheel, the turn of birth, death, and rebirth. 

That part of it usually isn’t questioned because it is logical. What is questioned is the space between the living experiences, the number of lifetimes, and the reasoning for going through each one. Also intriguing is “who we were,” with whom, and when. Reincarnation is one of Wicca’s most valuable lessons. The knowledge that this life is but one of many, that when the physical body dies we do not cease to exist but are reborn in another body answers many questions, but raises a few more. Wicca teaches that reincarnation is the instrument through which our souls are perfected. one lifetime isn’t sufficient to attain this goal; hence, the consciousness (soul) is reborn many times, each life encompassing a different set of lessons, until perfection is achieved. 

No one can say how many lives are required before this is accomplished. In Wicca, we seek to strengthen our bodies, minds and souls. We certainly live full, productive earthly lives, and we do so while harming none. The soul is ageless, sexless, non-physical, possessed of the divine spark of the Goddess and God. Each manifestation of the soul (i.e., each body it inhabits on Earth) is different. No two bodies or lives are the same. What happens after death? Only the body dies. The soul lives on. 

This realm is neither in heaven nor the underworld. It simply is- a non- physical reality much less dense than ours. Some Wiccan traditions describe it as a land of eternal summer, with grassy fields and sweet flowing rivers, perhaps the Earth before the advent of humans. Others see it vaguely as a realm without forms, where energy swirls coexist with the greatest energies- the Goddess and God in their celestial identities. The soul is said to review the past life, perhaps through some mysterious way with the deities. This isn’t a judgment, a weighing of one’s soul, but an incarnation review. Lessons learned or ignored are brought to light. After the proper time, when the conditions on Earth are correct, the soul is reincarnated and life begins again. 

The final question- what happens after the last incarnation? Wiccan teachings have always been vague on this. Basically, the Wiccan say that after rising upon the spiral of life and death and rebirth, those souls who have attained perfection break away from the cycle forever and dwell with the Goddess and God. Nothing is ever lost. The energies resident in our souls return to the divine source from which they originally emanated. Because of the acceptance of reincarnation, the Wicca don’t fear death as a final plunge into oblivion, the days of life on Earth forever behind them. It is seen as the door to birth. Thus our very lives are symbolically linked with the endless cycles of the seasons which shape our planet. Reincarnation is as real as a plant that buds, flowers, drops its seed, withers and creates a new plant in its image.


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