Sojourn in the Summerlands

by M-Gillies

Wiccan believe that the Summerlands is a place of eternal summer and a place of reflection for the spirit.

“Merry meet, so sad to part – but merry meet again – in the Summerland, Valhalla; the Blessed Isles – and perhaps back here among the living.” Wiccan Passage, derived from the Wiccan Rede.

Some people believe in a utopia in the sky – that mystical place of Nirvana. It’s the embodiment of tranquility and peace, and it goes by many names; Arcadia, Zion, Canaan, Elysium, Heaven. However, for Neopagan practitioners, there is another place that the spirit goes to after death. It is known as the Summerland; Land of the Faerie; the Shining Land; and the Land of the Young.

Said to be the Wiccan paradise where spirits rest after death, Summerland is the metaphysical representation of a person’s Shangri-La. A place where people are reunited with their loved ones, can recuperate from their time on Earth and can reflect upon the lessons they learned while living their lives.

While interpretations of Summerland vary, some Wiccan traditions describe it as a land of eternal summer, with grassy fields and flowing rivers. For others, it can be seen as a realm without forms in which energy coexists with the greatest energies of the goddess and god in celestial form.

It is well known that the Wiccan theology is based on the principles of attuning their practice to the natural rhythm of the life force, ecological balance and living in harmony with nature. With that commonality to nature, the Summerland is an astral plane, free of judgement and more of a place for recovery from hardships, walking with the Lord and the Lady and reflecting upon their past lives in spiritual self-evaluation.

Within the doctrine of Wicca, a major part of the religion is the belief of the cycle of the wheel; life, death and rebirth, otherwise known as reincarnation. While all Wiccan believe in something different, the basic Wiccan belief of reincarnation is that a person is energy; a shapeless, sexless entity that moves from one body to another and is placed on Earth to learn lessons.

Some may see death as the be-all end-all, but to a practitioner of Wicca, death is not given the connotation of being a bad thing, nor a punishment. Instead, it is seen as a completion of one step in the incarnate ladder. It is said that reincarnation is one of Wicca’s most valuable lessons – it is the instrument through which a soul is perfected because one lifetime is not sufficient enough to achieve all of life’s lessons.

Unlike the religious doctrines that have been practiced for centuries, Wicca denounces Hell and the eternity of punishment for one lifetime of sin. Instead of an eternity of suffering, there is an element of karmic belief held in Wiccan practices that if someone led a life of sin, they shall be punished by being reincarnated into an undesirable life as a means of teaching humility.

Much like the Buddhists, Wiccan believe the reason for existence is to learn and perfect the soul as they strive to reach enlightenment. Considering each life as a particular lesson chosen and planned out by the soul while in Summerland, reincarnation to Wiccan is the process of bringing the soul closer to enlightenment, based on the lessons which the person decides they wish to learn for their next life.

While Christian practices have adopted the belief of angels and demons, good and evil, Wiccan differ on their views based on the person. There are those who believe in spirit guides; existential beings who’ve achieved enlightenment and exist to guide, protect, and help each person on their journey to enlightenment, while demons are considered tainted souls, corrupted with hate, greed and sorrow.

Similarly like Christianity, there are a number of different denominations of Wicca which are practiced depending on the beliefs of practitioners. However, Wiccan maintain a solid belief that life moves in a circle, not a straight line, much like the changing of the seasons; the water cycle.

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