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Summerland - An Introduction


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 Wiccans 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 reveiw
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 acheive 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 Wiccans 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 being such as a spirit guide,
angel, or through time something such as an elemental. That's what
spirit guides and angels are 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.
Well, that's my opinion. :) Summerland 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. Some Wiccans say that
it journeys to a realm variously known as the Summerlands, Land of
the Faerie, the Shining Land, and the Land of the Young. 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 incarnational 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 Wiccans 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.

Wicca- A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner: by Scott Cunningham
and,
To Ride A Silver Broomstick: by Silver RavenWolf





 

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