Friday, 22 April 2011
Reincarnation - the Sandwich Theory
Where do we go when we die? Ha! Where indeed. Personally, I like the theory raised in the author Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, that after we die we go wherever we believe we were going to go whilst we were alive. He had an anthropomorphic personification of Death meeting the souls of the newly departed, and he waited with them in the brief pause in the transition between the Living World and the After Life. These souls passed on to wherever they thought that they should go, which included fading into nothingness if they just didn't believe in an afterlife.
I also like CS Lewis' explanation, when his world of Narnia came to an end, all the souls passed through a small shed and into another Narnia, more real than the "real" one - something that possibly mirrors the idea of the Summerlands. Colours are more colourful, tastes and smells tastier and smellier (or perhaps that should be more aromatic).
Put very simplistically, the Christians have their angelic, cloudy Heaven and fiery, demonic Hell. The other monotheistic religions have something similar. The Greeks had their uninviting underworld of Hades, where the dead souls go to eternally suffer for their crimes in life. The Norse had Valhalla, where the souls of warriors were snatched from where they fell on the battlefield by valkyries, to feast and carouse in the Halls until Ragnarok and the end of days. Hindus see this world as the Afterlife, with souls being reincarnated back into this world, and hopefully attaining a higher state of consciousness in the process.
The Irish have their Isle of Blest, or Tir Na N'Og, a paradise somewhere to the west of Ireland. Wiccans have their Summerlands, also a paradise, where the souls reside and reflect until reincarnation into this world.
Some believe the Celts saw death as a transition to another, parallel life, a rebirth there after a death here. Just the other day I tried explaining this to my 8 year old daughter, she likes learning about the Celts and the Romans. I likened it to the two slices of bread in a sandwich - two identical pieces of bread, each a perfect copy of the other, but separated by the filling. When we die in one piece of bread, we are reborn in the other piece, live out a lifetime there, and return to the original piece of bread in the subquent cycle. We continue alternating our bread residences, living out lifetime after lifetime, perhaps growing a little more with each incarnation.
I don't really believe that we exist inside a sandwich (filling of your choice), but we could do - who knows! Whether it's heaven or hell, Summerlands or this world, there is an Afterlife. Personally, I believe that we are reborn, whether in this slice of bread, or another slice, but I think that the next world will look pretty much like this one, but perhaps more colourful and smellier (or is that aromatic!)
Love and hugs