For many who do not know, the Wiccan religion is not all about spells, black cats, and candle circles. There is a deeper meaning and belief tied into the very nature that is around them. Wiccans believe, like some other religions, in the afterlife. While many still believe in that they will return multiple times, many Wiccans do not take reincarnation seriously for they believe in just the common existence they are in. Once a Wiccan dies they go to their afterlife called the Summerland. The term “Summerland” is well known and it’s the idea of a peaceful, pleasantly warm, garden-like or meadow-like area where they reside in once they expire.
The Wiccan belief of Summerland is like the Valhalla for the Vikings where the might warriors of old would go after they die. The idea of Summerland is of a peaceful place where the soul journeys to grow and prepare for rebirth in a new body. Some Wiccans also believe that Summerland is a place of relaxation and rejuvenation where one goes to stay until they are ready to be reborn. (Woodling, Thoron. “What is The Summerland.” What is the Summerland?, www.jesterbear.com/Wicca/FAQsummerland.html.)
The main questions non-Wiccans ask is what happens in between the rebirth. Many Wiccans will tell people that the soul is relearning everything from its past life; that it needs to be perfected for its next life. Wicca teaches that reincarnation is the instrument through which our souls are perfected. Their goal is to be reborn as many times as possible, depending on how they view the number of times they are reborn, until perfection is achieved to which they have learned all they need to know. (Ladyoftheabyss. “Posts about Summerland on Witches Of The Craft®.” Witches Of The Craft, witchesofthecraft.com/tag/summerland/.)
Of course, the soul isn’t reborn right away. It may take day, month, are years until the soul is reborn again. There is an interesting theory among many Wiccans is that animals have souls. Many speculate if we will see our animal companions in the afterlife. Some Wiccans believe that their friend will come back in another animal body, or even as a human.
Then there are ‘soul-groups’ in which some Wiccans believe that many souls with gather in the afterlife to learn from others who have gone to relax. These group share their knowledge that they learned from the pervious lives to perfect themselves not as individuals but as a group effort. Wicca believes that once a person goes to Summerland, their energy is sexless, that their physical energy is shapeless.
For many newer Wiccans, who are not really tied to the belief of a peaceful, beautiful land where these bodiless balls of energy are learning from their past lives, they go and ask their questions to those who have believed in the Wiccan practices for years. One woman accounted that, to give her mind that need bridge of understanding she planted flowers. Perennial flowers.
She writes, “These are perennials, they’ll keep coming back year after year, so I can enjoy them over and over. So that’s when it clicked. If flowers can live, die, and then come back again, then was it so farfetched that the human soul, a witch’s soul, could do the same?” (“Wicca 101: The Summerland, The Winter land, and Reincarnation.” Wordsofawiccan, 9 July 2016, wordsofawiccan.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/wicca-101-the-summerland-the-winter-land-and-reincarnation/.)
The teachings of Wicca also denounce hell and the never-ending punishment for one lifetime of sin. Wicca teaches that instead of suffering because you did something wrong, you will relive that life again to better yourself; to redeem your soul. It will teach you humility.
One thing, a Wiccan cannot go against is the Wiccan rede. A passage of beliefs/teaching that a Wiccan must follow. “Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good. When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow. Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you. These Eight words the Rede fulfill: An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will”. That passage is to instruct Wiccans on that you must do good in your lifetime, learn all you can, and do no harm to others. You must honor the mother which is earth herself and that you must live free of all negative thoughts/energy. (“Information Categories.” Wiccan Rede | Full Version, wicca.com/celtic/wicca/rede.htm.)
Wicca is polytheistic, and many Wiccans will a ‘patron’ that is a patron God and matron Goddess of nature. There is no rule saying one person can have just one patron. Some people even have as many as five. The benefit of being in a relationship with patrons is that it gets fully developed. In your worship and serving your patron Gods, you get to know them as they grow with you. They take you under their wing and will teach you a great deal over time so that you can learn many lessons from them. To honor your patrons, they may ask you to set up a shrine or a place to worship them privately. There are many books published on the many forms and names of the gods or goddesses.
When a Wiccan dies its like most normal burials only instead of an airtight casket, they choose green or eco-friendly burial customs. The person to be buried is wrapped only in cloth to allow the body to decompose naturally and as quickly as possible. Wiccans also encourage cremation as opposed to the use of traditional harsh embalming fluids. As for their numbers it is actually quite shocking to learn that there is a possible number of three million Wiccans who still practice the art of witchcraft.
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 each person on their journey to enlightenment. Demons, who are considered tainted souls corrupted by hate, greed and sorrow of their old life; seek to sway souls from learning from their mistakes.
Because of reincarnation, the Wicca don’t fear death as an end. The days of their past life on Earth are forever behind them. It is a door. When one door closes, another opens into a new life. Their 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 in the Spring, flowers in the Summer, drops its seed in the Autumn, withers in the winter and then creates a new plant in its image come the following Spring. (“Sojourn in the Summerlands | The Definitive Funeral Planning and Information Resource.” Mysendoff.com, mysendoff.com/2011/11/sojourn-in-the-summerlands/.)