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Author Topic: Summerland and Reincarnation  (Read 11261 times)
Zerynthia
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« Topic Start: September 18, 2007, 02:25:40 pm »

With Samhain quickly approaching, I've been thinking a great deal about what happens to us after death. This is the time of year when the veil thins, and those with mediumistic talent attempt to contact ancestors and others who have gone on. However, many pagans also subscribe to belief in reincarnation. How does one reconcile these two set of "beliefs"?

Is a part of your soul and your personality archived away in the Summerland, for your descendants to contact and seek guidance/protection of?
Are you fully reincarnated, and when the living try to contact the dead - are they summoning something else? A thoughtform? a spirit of some kind?
Is past life regression work worthwhile?

Just curious what everyone thinks about this.
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Juni
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« Reply #1: September 18, 2007, 03:05:59 pm »

With Samhain quickly approaching, I've been thinking a great deal about what happens to us after death. This is the time of year when the veil thins, and those with mediumistic talent attempt to contact ancestors and others who have gone on. However, many pagans also subscribe to belief in reincarnation. How does one reconcile these two set of "beliefs"?

Is a part of your soul and your personality archived away in the Summerland, for your descendants to contact and seek guidance/protection of?
Are you fully reincarnated, and when the living try to contact the dead - are they summoning something else? A thoughtform? a spirit of some kind?
Is past life regression work worthwhile?

Just curious what everyone thinks about this.

I don't attempt to contact ancestors because I don't believe they continue to exist in any meaningful sense of the word. I do practice ancestor reverence, which some see as a bit contradictory, but I don't expect guidance or help from those that have passed on; I want to remember their life and honor their memory.

I also don't do past life regression; while I do believe in reincarnation, I don't believe in one-to-one soul recycling or some such. My thoughts are a little bit different. The basic concept (for me) is like taking an infinitely large pitcher of water; each life is a single poured glass. In death, the water is returned to the pitcher, and a new life is poured. Can you ever get exactly the same glass of water? The memories that one retrieves, imo, during past life regression are their memories because they are in fact remembering them, but the person remembering is not the same soul that lived them, and the same memories -or memories from that same life- may be shared with many other souls.
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« Reply #2: September 18, 2007, 03:31:21 pm »

In death, the water is returned to the pitcher, and a new life is poured. Can you ever get exactly the same glass of water? The memories that one retrieves, imo, during past life regression are their memories because they are in fact remembering them, but the person remembering is not the same soul that lived them, and the same memories -or memories from that same life- may be shared with many other souls.

Hey, that theory explains perfectly all the Cleopatras out there!    Her life was big enough and well-enough recorded that anyone searching for past life memories would recognize ones that originated with her and have a name all handy to hang on them.  Same with the Napoleons and Rasputins, Catherines, etc.

Maybe they're not all just deluding themselves and seeking importance. (well, maybe they are, but there could be some real memory-bits floating around inside them too.)

It's not my view of reincarnation, (I'm in the soul-recycling camp) but it's a really interesting idea.

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« Reply #3: September 18, 2007, 03:38:03 pm »

Just curious what everyone thinks about this.

Good questions all, but you'll probably get six different answers if you ask any five pagans this question.   Wink

It's probably worth noting that not all pagans believe in life after death...  and not all pagans who believe in life after death necessarily subscribe to the idea of the Summerlands (or Tir Nan Og, Valhalla, Shangri La, Heaven, or any of the varoius realms of death/everlasting life/eternal youth).

I'm no expert here and my knowledge is based on personal experience and UPG rather than any religious teachings.  I do believe that we continue to exist after physical death and that, at least theoretically, reincarnation is a possibility.  Whether we're reincarnated as a single soul or not, I still haven't come to a conclusion (although Juni's ideas on it are very appealling to me). 

I've no problem with reconciling that the idea that a person's spirit may exist on another plane with reincarnation, because reincarnation is not necessarily instantaneous, IMO.  You might go several lifetimes before being reborn. In the meantime, the spirit would need to dwell somewhere.  Just my UPG, but when someone makes contact with the dead (or as happens more often to me, when the dead make contact with someone living), I think it's the spirit of someone who has not been reincarnated. 

What Juni said about ancestor reverence pretty much sums up my thoughts on that subject.  I don't seek to contact them at Samhain, but I do pay tribute and honor to them. 
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« Reply #4: September 18, 2007, 04:09:46 pm »

Just curious what everyone thinks about this.

As far as I am concerned once your dead you dead (duh Wink ) your body is recycled and so is the energy that makes up your "spirit" but not in any conscious way. That's my afterlife view in a nutshell.
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« Reply #5: September 18, 2007, 04:39:17 pm »

With Samhain quickly approaching, I've been thinking a great deal about what happens to us after death. This is the time of year when the veil thins, and those with mediumistic talent attempt to contact ancestors and others who have gone on. However, many pagans also subscribe to belief in reincarnation. How does one reconcile these two set of "beliefs"?

Is a part of your soul and your personality archived away in the Summerland, for your descendants to contact and seek guidance/protection of?
Are you fully reincarnated, and when the living try to contact the dead - are they summoning something else? A thoughtform? a spirit of some kind?
Is past life regression work worthwhile?

Just curious what everyone thinks about this.

I personally believe that some people reincarnate, some don't, some reincarnate some of the time, and not other times...I think it has to do with 1) what you want and 2) what your deities have planned for you. Not much help, I know lol.
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« Reply #6: September 18, 2007, 06:09:52 pm »

Is a part of your soul and your personality archived away in the Summerland, for your descendants to contact and seek guidance/protection of?
Are you fully reincarnated, and when the living try to contact the dead - are they summoning something else? A thoughtform? a spirit of some kind?
Is past life regression work worthwhile?

Just curious what everyone thinks about this.

Hey, that theory explains perfectly all the Cleopatras out there!    Her life was big enough and well-enough recorded that anyone searching for past life memories would recognize ones that originated with her and have a name all handy to hang on them.  Same with the Napoleons and Rasputins, Catherines, etc.
Maybe they're not all just deluding themselves and seeking importance. (well, maybe they are, but there could be some real memory-bits floating around inside them too.)
It's not my view of reincarnation, (I'm in the soul-recycling camp) but it's a really interesting idea.
Absent

I also don't do past life regression; while I do believe in reincarnation, I don't believe in one-to-one soul recycling or some such. My thoughts are a little bit different. The basic concept (for me) is like taking an infinitely large pitcher of water; each life is a single poured glass. In death, the water is returned to the pitcher, and a new life is poured. Can you ever get exactly the same glass of water? The memories that one retrieves, imo, during past life regression are their memories because they are in fact remembering them, but the person remembering is not the same soul that lived them, and the same memories -or memories from that same life- may be shared with many other souls.


I do contact my ancestors, or rather they contact me, so I know there is some sort of afterlife.

As for reincarnation, well, my beliefs get pretty complex but basically, it kind of goes along the not-exactly-the-same-soul idea.  I think of it as "split souls".

I think of it kind of like a tree, with the main soul as the trunk and all the branches and twigs as the souls that have split off or branched out from the main soul. Sort of like a family tree, I guess, except it is your spiritual family tree.

This means that you can exist on different planes simultaneously, and some of your souls are aware of the existence of the other souls. In other words some of the branches know the other exist, while others are unaware.

That's about the best I can explain it.


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Malkin
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« Reply #7: September 18, 2007, 10:50:09 pm »

With Samhain quickly approaching, I've been thinking a great deal about what happens to us after death. This is the time of year when the veil thins, and those with mediumistic talent attempt to contact ancestors and others who have gone on. However, many pagans also subscribe to belief in reincarnation. How does one reconcile these two set of "beliefs"?

Is a part of your soul and your personality archived away in the Summerland, for your descendants to contact and seek guidance/protection of?
Are you fully reincarnated, and when the living try to contact the dead - are they summoning something else? A thoughtform? a spirit of some kind?
Is past life regression work worthwhile?

Just curious what everyone thinks about this.

I think ancestor veneration (which is traditional in Celtic and Norse paganism, and probably others) and the modern concept of reincarnation (which comes from Hinduism/Buddhism, and is not seen in Western European paganism) are kind of mutually exclusive, for the logical reasons that you brought up. I myself don't believe in reincarnation, even though many Wiccans do. Or at least, I choose not to concern myself with it. I think "past life regression" probably does more harm than good - if we were supposed to remember these things, I think we would. There was a time in my life when I was far too preoccupied with whom I might once have been, rather than focusing on becoming my own person here and now. And even aside from that, the concept of reincarnation is inextricably caught up in the concept of karma (something else I don't believe in), which gives you a really convenient justification for India's caste system. (Why are poor people poor? Because they were bad people in a past life. Why don't we allow them upward mobility? Because they were bad people in a past life! If they want better luck, they can just be good and patient while they wait to die!) I think the ugly truth is that it's another instance of religion being used as a tool of oppression to enforce social stratification. Which may or may not have any bearing on whether it's objectively true that people have multiple lives, but I don't think we'll ever know. Whatever the case, I think focusing on the lives we're living right now is more than enough.

Sorry, had a bit of a soapbox moment there. Smiley

So, I think that, probably, when you die, you die. But, if any of the wacky dreams I've had in life are true, nothing bad's going to happen. It'll be all right.
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« Reply #8: September 19, 2007, 08:30:52 am »

With Samhain quickly approaching, I've been thinking a great deal about what happens to us after death. This is the time of year when the veil thins, and those with mediumistic talent attempt to contact ancestors and others who have gone on. However, many pagans also subscribe to belief in reincarnation. How does one reconcile these two set of "beliefs"?

Is a part of your soul and your personality archived away in the Summerland, for your descendants to contact and seek guidance/protection of?
Are you fully reincarnated, and when the living try to contact the dead - are they summoning something else? A thoughtform? a spirit of some kind?
Is past life regression work worthwhile?

Just curious what everyone thinks about this.

 I believe that when you die if you're a good eprson at heart you live on with Osiris in Amenti. However, i don't beleive this allows the dead to be contacted mentally or spirtually.
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« Reply #9: September 19, 2007, 11:10:21 am »

I believe that when you die if you're a good eprson at heart you live on with Osiris in Amenti.

I'm curious, where does this leave those who don't follow a Kemetic path?  The only Egyptian deity I've ever had any passing interest in is Anubis.  As I've never called on Him I seriously doubt that I'll end up in the Afterlife with Him.  The same goes for Valhalla and the Elysian Fields.  I just don't follow those paths.

I work with Epona but even then my view of the life-between-incarnations doesn't fit any of the standard models.  I don't even expect to end up in the Summerlands.  I'm in the one-soul-recycled camp but there're tasks to be completed between physical incarnations as well. 
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« Reply #10: September 19, 2007, 12:57:22 pm »

I personally believe that some people reincarnate, some don't, some reincarnate some of the time, and not other times...I think it has to do with 1) what you want and 2) what your deities have planned for you. Not much help, I know lol.

I have to agree with Dania. I believe that what happens to you after death is determined by what you believe and what gods you believe in decide. Because I donít think that one belief should trump another simply because that belief is mine. All religions are valid. All beliefs are valid.

However, I personally donít think Iíll be reincarnation and think that the soul is sent to a place of rest after death. I also think that those souls can both be contacted by the living and return to the earth for visits of their own will. I do believe in ghosts. Mainly because I spent my teenage years knee deep in it and would really like whoever keeps walking down my hallway at 1:00am to stop it because itís really annoying and freaks out the cats...
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« Reply #11: September 19, 2007, 01:04:53 pm »

I'm curious, where does this leave those who don't follow a Kemetic path?  The only Egyptian deity I've ever had any passing interest in is Anubis.  As I've never called on Him I seriously doubt that I'll end up in the Afterlife with Him.  The same goes for Valhalla and the Elysian Fields.  I just don't follow those paths.

I work with Epona but even then my view of the life-between-incarnations doesn't fit any of the standard models.  I don't even expect to end up in the Summerlands.  I'm in the one-soul-recycled camp but there're tasks to be completed between physical incarnations as well. 

Just throwing my two cents in on this thought....

I believe the afterlife is different for everyone, not just a one-size-fits-all kind of Heaven. You see and meet who you want to meet - Osirus, Jesus, passed loved ones, even Elvis I suppose.

I do agree that there are tasks between incarnations, although I don't know what they will be.

I don't know where I am going, or even where I have been, but I know I won't be alone.
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« Reply #12: September 19, 2007, 01:18:31 pm »

Wow. I am so glad that I posed this question - so much here to consider!

For a long time, I have felt that based on your personal convictions and beliefs, your soul/spirit acts accordingly. Some people choose to rest in heaven/summerland/etc., some people choose to come back to earth in physical form and have another go and others choose to return in spirit and act as a guide.

I think of the places the ancients believed our souls travelled to after death as like a really old nightclub - sort of like Studio 54. For thousands of years, the Elysian Fields, Valhalla, etc. were pretty happening, active places where the dead congregated. Currently, it seems that Christianity is the major paradigm, so the collective "believers" I think have created a "heaven" where their souls tend to congregate. And like Studio 54 - as interest in the Pagan religions increases, I feel that the old "places" are sort of reawakening (and also that many of the ancient Gods and Goddesses are being reawakened as well). Sort of a "please excuse our dust as we remodel".

Of course, I've pretty much operated within a paradigm of Karma and Reincarnation, even though it causes my personal experience to occasionally rub up uncomfortably with the Wiccan Rede and the 3 Fold Law. What Malkin says gives me a great deal of food for thought.
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« Reply #13: September 19, 2007, 03:30:19 pm »


Just curious what everyone thinks about this.

In the Gaelic tradition, it is commonly believed that when one dies they are reborn in the Otherworld (not the same as Tir na n'Og, Tech Donn, etc.). There one will spend some time(no one knows how long, an "Otherworldly" lifetime perhaps?) and when they die in the Otherworld they are reborn back in this world.
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« Reply #14: September 19, 2007, 04:47:30 pm »

In the Gaelic tradition, it is commonly believed that when one dies they are reborn in the Otherworld (not the same as Tir na n'Og, Tech Donn, etc.). There one will spend some time(no one knows how long, an "Otherworldly" lifetime perhaps?) and when they die in the Otherworld they are reborn back in this world.

I don't believe there is such a thing as time once you leave this world. 
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