ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Wiccan Views on Life After Death

Updated on August 25, 2016
WiccanSage profile image

A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

What happens after we die?

Many religions try to answer the question of what happens when we shuffle off the ol' mortal coil. Some think they have the answers on this topic, but it's no surprise that not everyone is in agreement.

Wicca is one of those religions that does not pretend to have the answers to this particular mystery. We have no scripture, no widely-accepted revelations nor doctrines about what the afterlife might be-- if one exists at all.

There are differing views found within Wicca when it comes to life after death, none of which are 'official' stances. That is, there conclusions that maybe many Wiccans may share, but came to on their own. There's no overseeing authority in Wicca that tells us to believe in any particular version of life after death. Let's explore some of these ideas commonly found among Wiccans.

Check out my other article, Wicca for Beginners; Wiccan Views on Sex

Source

Reincarnation

The most widely accepted concepts of an afterlife held by Wiccans is that of reincarnation-- the idea that we will eventually be born again in a new life. Wiccans also tend to view everything in nature as cyclical-- from electrons revolving around a nucleus to planets revolving around the sun, the changing of the seasons and the phases of the moon, life seems to continually come full circle before moving on again. In this sense, reincarnation spiritually fits. Besides, if the soul is immortal/eternal, then one single life seems like such a waste-- a drop in the bucket of eternity.

Even among reincarnation believers, there are different ideas about how it works. Some Wiccans believe in transmigration of the soul-- we start out as lower-order creatures, evolving through the ranks as we learn and grow, working our way up some spiritual life pyramid. Other Wiccans believe we reincarnate only as humans (or at least humanoids, if you want to get into the supposition that there's life on other planets).

Some see our journey as spiritually progressive. They may even believe we choose what life to come back to, the same way you might pick the courses you need in college to gain credits and advance toward graduation. Others think what we come back as dependent on our karma. Some see our return as completely random-- you spin the wheel of fate and see what comes. Life simply moves on and the future is not set for anyone.

Wicca and the Summerlands

Entering the Summerland: Customs and Rituals of Transition into the Afterlife (World Religion & Magick Series)
Entering the Summerland: Customs and Rituals of Transition into the Afterlife (World Religion & Magick Series)

Edain McCoy is not an author who is generally concerned with accuracy, sad to say. But this is a creative writer and there are some comforting ideas in here... I just would take any historical cultural claims with a grain of salt.

 

The Summerlands

Some people mistakenly believe Summerland is the Wiccan word for 'Heaven', but that wouldn't quite be accurate-- at least not in terms of the Judeo-Christian Heaven.

Some Wiccans who believe in life after death believe there is another plane of existence-- the spirit world, which exists behind 'the veil', where spirits go to rest and reunite after death. Summerland is just a common name for the spirit world-- though no one really knows what it might be like.

Some imagine it like the afterlife is portrayed in Robin William's film, What Dreams May Come or the 'Nexus' in the film Star Trek: Generations. You essentially create your own reality there and it becomes what you want it to be-- you can look how you want to look, be with whomever you want to be with at any time. There's a bit of a caveat there-- be careful of how you think; a negative, pessimistic soul could easily turn his own afterlife into his own personal 'hell'.

Others see it a little more literally as a beautiful rest stop; a regular Elysian Fields where everyone - the good and the bad - go to take stock of their lives before moving on to a new incarnation.

How Would You Like to Travel the Universe?

Astral travel-- spend an eternity seeing the universe. Wouldn't be a bad way to go.
Astral travel-- spend an eternity seeing the universe. Wouldn't be a bad way to go. | Source

Free Spirits

Some Wiccans believe that our souls are immortal and free from our bodies when we die. There is no particular place to go, and reincarnation-- if it exists at all -- is purely optional. Once we're unshackled from our physical body, the non-corporeal spirit is free to explore the vast expanses of time and space, completely unfettered.

It's a little like permanent astral travel. One minute you can go back in time and witness the building of the pyramids, the next second you can blink yourself to Pluto sometime in the future when it's being colonized by aliens. You can watch your progeny throughout generations, or you can just 'go to sleep'... and never wake up unless you want to.


Earth-Bound Spirits

One idea that can overlap with other ideas is that some spirits become 'trapped' on Earth. This might be because they have unfinished business, experienced a trauma, don't know they're dead or maybe they're just too trapped by their own negativity. Either way, some souls don't move on to the Summerlands, or to roam the universe, or even to be re-incarnated until they can be freed from their Earthly prison.

These would be the ghosts and entities that many believe haunt certain places, be it poltergeists or more threatening entities.

Could Death Be The Eternal Sleep?

After death, perhaps consciousness simply ceases.
After death, perhaps consciousness simply ceases. | Source

The End of The Line

Not all Wiccans believe in an afterlife or in ghosts. There are many who simply are of the opinion that death is the end. These Wiccans will see the leaves fall from the tree in the autumn, but the ones that return in the spring are not the same leaves. When we fall, the life energy is re-consumed by the universe and we move on. The body becomes worm food and is consumed by the Earth. Life after death is considered nothing more than wishful thinking, or a fear of one's own mortality. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. As far as any consciousness goes, it's light's out for us-- permanently.

An apt quote, even if it is a horror film villanizing Pagans.
An apt quote, even if it is a horror film villanizing Pagans. | Source

Being Re-Absorbed By The Divine Source

A final possibility that some Wiccans believe is the end of a long cycle of reincarnation, or after we're done with the spirit world, is that we simply are reabsorbed into the Divine Source. There's a popular Wiccan chant:

We all come from the Goddess; and to Her we shall return

Like a drop of rain flowing to the ocean.


At some point, when we're ready for rest, we return to the Divine Source of all things and become part of it forever.

As you can see, there is a lot of diversity there, and much room for personal interpretations. One of the few things Wiccans tend to agree on is that death is not something we need to fear... it is a natural part of life cycle.

Overall, Wicca is a religion that is not highly concerned about what may come after life. We may all be curious or have our theories-- we're human -- but our religion is mainly about how we live our lives, not what might happen to us after we die. Embracing this life, here and now, making the most of it -- that's the journey that Wicca is about.

What do you believe?

What do you think life after death will be like?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Very interesting hub. I enjoyed reading these views immensely. The ideas you describe are different from any preconceived notions I may have had.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks, FlourishAnyway. I'm glad I could clear up any misconceptions. I appreciate your comment, thank you for dropping by.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      Interesting and well explained.

      I am a believer that we are all on a spiritual journey and reincarnate to evolve.

      Your religion's freedom to believe in what the individual feels to be right, makes a lot of sense.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      One of the reasons Wicca drew me is that it's non-dogmatic and expects us to explore and draw conclusions about such things. You can be more intellectually honest with yourself with that kind of freedom. Thanks for your comment, Anna.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      I enjoyed your hub and the information on Wicca belief. I'm hoping there is not reincarnation. Once I'm gone I don't want to come back ever. Voted up

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks for your comments, Moonlake; I'm glad you enjoyed it. Personally, if I could choose the one I want the most it would be reincarnation. Life's an adventure and amazing font of experience; like going to Disney World, I want to come back again and again, lol. But I hope you find your peace in whatever is to come. :-)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      It's interesting to read about all the different ideas. Neat hub.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I do think that there is a 'rest stop' on the spiritual highway, (call it what you will), and that we may well be in charge of what that time will be like.

      My mother, who was at least nominally a Christian, put it very well when my father passed away. She commented, "His heaven will be full of machine shops." And I believe her heaven is full of books, sailing ships and lighthouses. ;-)

      Mine? Give me a good supply of books, writing paper, and a quiet glade by a mountain stream and waterfall on a warm summer day. ;-)

      I'm kind of not any religion. I'm on the pagan path, more or less, but I'm also an atheist. ... so I don't believe in any dieties; just the universe itself. Who knows? No one has ever come back to report. I think the ghost hunter shows don't ask the right questions. LOL

      Voted up, interesting, useful and shared.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks Victoria Lynn. I always find the topic of life after death pretty fascinating. Life's biggest mystery comes right at the end. Thanks for your comment.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks DzyMsLIzzy... I think if I get to pick my own afterlife, it's going to be a big, well-stocked craft room with a cozy fireplace and endless hot chocolate in a snowy mountain lodge with big picture windows. But I wouldn't mind coming back for a while.

      I do believe in deities, I'm not sure they rule any afterlife... I think the afterlife is just part of nature. The things I believe most likely are some spirit world, then reincarnation if desired, but it will be an adventure to find out I suppose.

      Your comments are much appreciated, thanks!

    • catgypsy profile image

      catgypsy 3 years ago from the South

      Very interesting hub. I think it's something we all wonder about and there are so many different views on it. I like the one about Summerland. Nice job on this topic!

    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 3 years ago

      Great stuff and helps to demystify Wicca. I'm not the most spiritual person but I dated a Wiccan for sometime who was really terrific and opened my mind up a bit.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks Turtle dog, I'm glad you found it helpful. Your comments are much appreciated! Happy holidays.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I like your hub, especially the capsule 'Free Spirits' well done.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Nadine. I honestly wouldn't mind if that's what was in store. I love to travel, so how great would that be? I appreciate your comment, thanks for stopping by!

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Great hub. I think you hit on every possibility that man can conceive of regarding our exiting this material world. Those of us who spent our lives on this planet in anguish and emotional pain look forward to what ever the next plane has to offer - or to the bliss of oblivion. I am ready for whatever it brings, it certainly can not be any worse than what is on this planet.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Hi d., I agree that there is nothing to fear. It will be a new adventure, or it will be nothingness. I'm not ready to go yet-- I love life and hope to stick around as long as possible. But it's really interesting to think about.Thanks for your comments.

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      Well this sure got me thinking. It seems there are so many wonderful options when you look at these different viewpoints. I voted that I have no idea what I believe. I think it's a mix of many things, and definitely not confined to any specific religion. I believe in a higher power, but can't define it other than like a massive energy force, I can't define such a place as hell, other than separation from that massive energy force, which my teeny brain can only think would suck! lol I think our souls and bodies are two separate vessels, but combined when on the earth plane. I definitely believe in spirits, OBEs and astral travel. I'd love to come back as a ghost to spend some time haunting people, just because I think that would be hilarious. This was a great hub to read, thanks for taking the time to write it.

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Bishop: love you comments. You might find this short video an eye opener. http://youtu.be/LkaH3hEmV3M It certainly mirrors my own personal beliefs.

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks D.William! I will check out that link you mentioned. :)

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      Just listened. Very true. Religion (not all) seem to be a way to control the masses. I'm not saying it doesn't have its place, because a lot of people seem to need to know how to behave morally, so...hell and heaven can control behavior out of fear. The more I consider all of this "stuff" I really am starting to think the key to connecting with "spirit" or a greater power is releasing the ego, moving with "the now" and doing right by all forms of life. We kill animals and plants to survive, it should be only for that purpose. I'm blabbering again. But I will never buy into the belief that Jesus is the only way to God/Spirit, and although I was raised Catholic, the older I get the broader my view becomes on this heaven and hell nonsense. If hell is separation from God, then I'm sure it's not a place I'd prefer to be, but I also don't believe it's some fire roasting inferno full of eternal pain. Yeah...this topic is to deep!

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Bishop, I agree. I have no idea, lol. It's nice to think there might be something-- and there seems enough people claiming to have various experiences with spirits, or with Near Death Experiences, or past life regressions, etc., to think that there is something. I hope there is; life is an amazing adventure to me and I'd love the experience to go on. But I am not going to pretend I have that great mystery figured out. It's nice to think about the possibilities. Thanks so much for your comments.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Hey, d.williams, I really love that video! Thanks so much for sharing it here, I encourage everyone to go check it out. So short but so impactful with some amazing food for thought. Much appreciated!

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      That's very insightful, Bishop. Too much ego does have a way of being a stumbling block to greater things. Religion can be a great vehicle for spirituality-- it's not the only vehicle, and certainly one doesn't suit everyone. Sometimes religion can get a person very far and it's an amazing journey, and other times it's the equivalent of being tied up, thrown in the trunk and dragged along for the ride. This is how I think of religions that are very oppressive and dogmatic. Even with religion, you have to kind of maintain some control over your own journey. You're right-- this is a very deep topic. I'm actually going to look up more of those videos by that guy.

    • my_girl_sara profile image

      Cynthia Lyerly 3 years ago from Georgia

      I agree with the other comments that this is an interesting hub. I've never encountered a Wiccan before. Your arguments are all over the board as far as an afterlife is concerned. Since 100% of us die, it's a good idea to find out what really happens when we go. While we cannot really know for sure, we can look to the One who has never lied and every thing He said has come to pass. I trust what God says about my future because everything He prophesied about has come true. My faith is Christian with a mix of Judaism.

      Anyway, just wanted to compliment you on your blog!

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Lovely hub. I had not heard of Summerland before. I like the free spirit option, traveling elsewhere in the universe and occasionally checking back here to see how things are going on Earth.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Hi my_girl_sara; thanks for stopping by. The reason our beliefs are all over the board is because we don't pretend to know. We realize there is room for different opinions on the topic because there is no proof. Since we are not an Abrahamic religion, we do not believe in the same God as you do, or scriptures, or that he is a creator or ruler over life and death. We have experiences with our own Gods and have reasons to trust Them. But our relationships with our Gods are about how we live our lives; not what might come after. I appreciate your comments.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      It will be interesting to see which turns out, especially if life continues. I wouldn't mind continuing the adventures, especially if I could see the wonders of the universe. Thanks for your comment Silvia, I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very interesting and informative hub, WiccanSage. I enjoy learning about Wicca and other pagan religions/spiritualities. I find them very thought provoking!

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thank you Alicia. I also like to learn about different religions-- I always find something to think about, or something inspirational, even if I don't agree with everything. I'm glad you enjoyed, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Very interesting. I'm with moonlake. I have no use whatever to come back here once I'm gone. Contrary to what Jacqueline Susann wrote, once IS enough.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Au fait. I wouldn't mind another ride, life is such a grand adventure. It's a veritable buffet of sensory experiences, that's what I love in particular-- the sights, sounds, smells, etc. It will be nice if we are given a choice, though. Appreciate your stopping by!

    • profile image

      OllieTrolley 3 years ago

      I've always had my own theories, even before I learned about Wiccan. I am/was Christian, so I never fully comprehended my own thoughts.

      Ever since I was young, I've had some idea or vision about reincarnation. I've felt this isn't my first life, or something along those lines. It always baffled me and was very hard to think about because I practically grew up in a church where reincarnation was merely a fairy-tale. But, since I discovered Wicca, I've opened up my mind to more ideas and more possibility, and it much easier to think.

      I actually think the Wicca way, could actually be the way I'm supposed to go.

      Thanks, you've helped so much.

      -Ollie

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks Ollie Trolley (what a cute name!). I appreciate your comments. I have actually known a lot of Christians who believe in reincarnation, even if it's not the traditionally held view. I've heard it say that in Jewish mysticism there's something about some form of reincarnation. I like the idea. But who really knows? Good luck in finding your path!

    • profile image

      OllieTrolley 3 years ago

      WiccanSage,

      I didn't think you'd respond to my little comment.

      Anyway, you're right, no one knows, and I find that to be the best part. While I'll always be curious and do research on it, I think I'm a bit too young to think about where I'll go after I die. About it being the best part? The fact that no one knows, is so... Fascinating. It's the best part, because I feel it leaves lots up to the imagination, no one is, 100 percent, right or wrong. WE DON'T KNOW. Which leads us to WANT to know. Wiccas and non-Wiccas will always be driven by curiosity and the need for knowledge.

      When it comes down to it; Is everyone really that different?

      -Ollie

      P.S. I don't know why I'm so deep and philosophical for someone my age. Oh well, I guess you could say; it's the best part.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      I think a curiosity about what happens after death is normal; as long as we don't dwell on it. Sounds like you have a healthy attitude about it. As for if we're all different- I think everyone can find common ground if they try. But the differences are what makes knowing each other more interesting ;-)

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 3 years ago from India

      Sage, this is a beautiful dissertation on life after death. You have made an elaborate study of Wiccan religion and the different theories reflected in this hub are all interesting. As per Hindu sacred texts, cycle of life runs till even a scintilla of desire remains in human mind. When a guy understands about life crystal clear and rises above all desires, this cycle of life stops for him and such a guy becomes enlightened, free from the clutches of life and death. This is called eternal freedom and is known by various other names such as liberation, salvation, lasting peace etc. This is a very interesting article and a thought provoking one. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Voted up.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks Harishprasad, for your kind words and for sharing your knowledge with us here on Hinduism. I appreciate your comments.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

      merrie we meet

      Two points to add to the thread this tyme.

      A coincidence that the Somerset levels in England's west country were at one stage known as 'summer lands' because the farmers then could only graze their flocks and herds in summer as the winter tyme it was too marshy. Enthusiasts of the Arthurian legends to this day refer to Avalon as being there.

      I've done a course in vigils for the dying and preparing for my own departure from the temporal realm and i'm not scared but there still remains the unknown factor

      in the light

      Bless

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

      merrie we meet

      one of my mentors (happens to reside in Avalon) in revealing to me 'in service to the dying' gave me this inspiring quote.

      By healing the fear of death, we are able, to be fully present to Life itself. In the fullness of that presence, do we embody the knowledge that? "never has there been a tyme when we did not exist, and never shall there come a tyme when we cease to be"

      Julie E. White

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Sorry so long in getting back to comments~ I went through a bout of illness.

      Thanks for adding that fascinating information limpet! I appreciate your input, great stuff. Be blessed...

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      So true...

    • Mary Husband profile image

      Mary Husband 23 months ago

      I know I'm late coming to this party, but I am reading through all your hubs. I just want to share my personal experience with reincarnation. Back in 1998 my grandmother passed away. 3 months later I found out I was 3 months pregnant with my second child. 2 years after she was born, she comes down the stairs asking where Toby was. He was my grandmothers poodle. I had a picture of my grandparent hanging over my couch, and my daughter points to my grandmother and says "that's me. I'm Dot!" My grandmothers name was Dorothy.

      From that day on I firmly believed that my daughter was a reincarnated form of my grandmother.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 23 months ago

      Hi Mary; thanks so much for sharing! I love hearing stories like that! Personally, I think if there is any kind of life after death, reincarnation just makes the most sense. And I must admit, I like the idea of coming back-- the idea of getting to experience childhood again, first love, getting a new education, all life's adventures ahead of me. So stories like this give me a lot of hope. Thanks so much.

      ~Sage

    • Mary Husband profile image

      Mary Husband 23 months ago

      Anytime Sage. I enjoy sharing my experiences, and if it helps anyone well then all the better!

    Click to Rate This Article