Reincarnation is a very popular topic. There is a great deal of debate surrounding the concept of rebirth, and sometimes it seems as if the Western world has only just discovered the very idea of being reborn into another body. The study of reincarnation is one of the greatest lessons Wicca can teach. Thinking about reincarnation raises questions which require a great deal of study to answer.
Wiccan Beliefs on Reincarnation – Why Are Beings Reincarnated?
Wicca teaches that reincarnation is the process through which souls attain perfection. Most would agree that one lifetime is obviously not enough to attain this goal. Instead, it takes several lifetimes, each one teaching a different set of lessons, until perfection is attained.
No one can say for sure how long this process takes; it’s said to be different for each person. There are many factors that can pull people into behavior that will inhibit spiritual growth. Though one may seek to live a productive, full life, sometimes, it seems, life just gets in the way.
Souls are ageless, non-physical, and have no inherent gender. The gender, race, and even place of birth is determined only by which lessons the current incarnation will need to learn. It is important to understand that the soul itself makes this decision, not some outside force seeking to punish the previous incarnation. This is central to Wiccan theology, since it reinforces the idea of personal responsibility.
Wiccan Views on What Happens When a Person Dies
There are an array of Wiccan views surrounding death. It's believed that body is the only thing that dies; it's believed that the soul continues to live. Some say that the soul then journeys to a realm known as the Shining Land, the Land of Eternal Youth or the Summerland, among other names. This isn't heaven, or a version of the underworld. It exists outside this view, and is sometimes seen as co-existing with reality, but less dense, and far from the physical realm. Some Wiccan traditions state that this is a land of eternal summer, while others see it as a vague realm without forms at all.
The most popular belief is that this realm takes on the form that best allows the own souls to rest and review the life just past. It is during this rest that the lessons learned in that incarnation are evaluated. When the time is right, the soul will be reincarnated, and the cycle of life continues.
What Happens After the Last Incarnation?
The answer to the question of what occurs after the final incarnation is very elusive. Wiccan theology states that after souls have attained perfection, they break away from the cycle of reincarnation and rebirth. Instead, it's said that they return to the Goddess and the God, the energy of the soul reunited with Theirs forever. Nothing is ever lost, and so the souls are returned to where they originally began. Everything is viewed as a circle.
An acceptance of reincarnation and rebirth serves a very important function for Wiccans — it alleviates the fear of death. Death is simply one more part of the journey. Though it's important to note that no one should be forced to believe in reincarnation or any other religious notion. The idea of reincarnation should be studied, meditated upon and contemplated until it can be accepted as fact by the individual. It is not the way of Wicca to force the belief of any doctrine, but rather to enlighten, so that doctrine instead becomes fact for the practitioner.
Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.