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
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.