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Wiccan Views on Life After Death

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.

Explore some views on life after death in the Wicca religion.

Explore some views on life after death in the Wicca religion.

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 widelyaccepted 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 are conclusions that 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.

Many Wiccans view everything in nature as cyclical.

Many Wiccans view everything in nature as cyclical.

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.

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.

Wicca and the Summerlands

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.

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.

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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.

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.

Could death be the eternal sleep? After death, perhaps consciousness simply ceases.

Could death be the eternal sleep? After death, perhaps consciousness simply ceases.

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.

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

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

What Do You Believe?

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright

Comments

Cianna on September 21, 2020:

Well I believe in four things.

1. We all go to Summerland where we experience peace and happiness, and where we recieve knowledge by a guide or spirit of a deceased person on what we learned while alive.

2. We reincarnate after a while and the cycle repeats itself but not eternally, it ends once we learn all that we could

3. After reincarnation is over, we return to the Goddess/God and achieve a state of ultimate happiness forever

4. Some will stay behind but only because they choose to, the Goddess and God will never let anyone be lost forever and will quietly wait for lost souls to choose the light, even if it takes forever.

hunni on July 26, 2020:

Personally, I believe that we reincarnate until we've lived a happy life, then we go to a spirit world.

Savannah on October 16, 2019:

For all the people that come onto this article just to force their own religion on Wiccan people,

The beginning is pretty self explanatory that I am against forcing other religion on people. Everyone can believe what they want to, I'm not forcing Wicca on anybody, I'm not that kind of person. If you disagree with certain people's beliefs than stay away from Wiccan articles and websites.

No one should say that Wicca is a fake religion, there are no fake beliefs. What kind of person goes on the comments and demands that people convert???? Why don't I just go on other religion sites and demand that they convert to Wicca? I keep to my own business, people that want to convert Wiccans need to keep to theirs.

Witches were burnt at the stake and hung for their beliefs by the people that hated their beliefs. We're not taking revenge or trying to make people feel shamed for their religion.

I think of religion as a divine way to be yourself! Be happy! Find love and comfort in it... Not what other people think they should do.

Brea Faze on April 27, 2019:

I think that people who lived noble, Good, or just a normal life can choose to go to the Summerlands, explore the univerce, or stay on earth. People who did eceptionally bad things would be punished but im not really sure how. Maybe they're soul is just kinda deleted?

Ian Stuart Robertson on April 25, 2019:

Merrie we meet

In case you were wondering why I am obsessed with I.T. managers and mentioned them, it is because I'm an I.T. manager and I'm a self-obsessed twit.

Ian Stuart Robertson on April 24, 2019:

Merrie we meet.

I am a very secular person and firmly believe that only wicca is true. I always criticize other religions.

P.S. I am obsessed with I.T. managers so that is why I said that.

Ian Stuart Robertson on April 24, 2019:

Merrie we meet.

I think some I.T. managers do not want children viewing some content unsupervised and thus have deemed anything to them unsuitable. This is censorship taken to the Nth degree.

Many blessings yo all kindred spirits.

Merrie we meet.

I think some I.T. managers do not want children viewing some content unsupervised and thus have deemed anything to them unsuitable. This is censorship taken to the Nth degree.

Many blessings yo all kindred spirits.

Ian Stuart Robertson on April 23, 2019:

Sorry I was just raging so I said some stupid ****. SO sorry. I am an imbecile. Thanks for understanding.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on April 13, 2019:

Merrie we meet.

I think some I.T. managers do not want children viewing some content unsupervised and thus have deemed anything to them unsuitable. This is censorship taken to the Nth degree.

Many blessings yo all kindred spirits.

CHRISTIANITY IS TRUTH on April 11, 2019:

you can believe this if you want to, but Wicca beliefs are false. If you want to believe in the truth, then repent and come follow Jesus Christ, who is your lord AND savior. When you repent to Jesus, you will join Christians in the afterlife.

CHRISTIANITY IS THE ONLY TRUTH on April 11, 2019:

you can believe this if you want, but just know that Wicca is a false religion. IF you want to believe the truth, then repent and come to Christ.

Rusty Rupp on July 01, 2018:

I believe soul is immortal .

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on March 22, 2018:

Thank you!

aaalhajjar on March 01, 2018:

The part it is all about living is cool. Loved it.

Mary Husband on June 20, 2015:

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