It's been a rough year. I've been thinking quite a bit about death, and what happens after we die. Obviously, it's of great interest to me, since so many people and pets I know and love are dead now, and others are old enough that I know it's only a matter of time. I've tried various spiritual paths in an attempt to find beliefs that make sense to me, but so far nothing has permanently 'clicked' in terms of being just right. I think the real problem is that NO ONE knows for sure what happens to us and where we go (if anywhere) when our bodies die. And that is what I want to know.
I once went on a shamanic journey to meet Death. I found what I was looking for, and I will never be foolish enough to try that a second time. However, even that experience didn't answer the question of what happens to us after we die. Death is not a static thing or even a state of being, but rather an event that transitions us from being alive here on Earth to... being something and/or someplace else. Or perhaps not.
I do believe that there is something beyond this life other than oblivion; there are too many people who have had near-death experiences who have shared them to make me believe otherwise. And while I am okay with not knowing all the details, I have to admit I would love to find out more about what is or is not on "the Other Side". Hey, I'm only human! ;-)
One of the reasons I no longer follow any of the current spiritual paths (other than occasional forays into the shamanic one) is because I have found too many contradictions within them, and too many things that don't add up when looked at as a whole. For instance, I was raised LDS (Mormon), and one of the beliefs of that church is that those who attain the highest glories of heaven (the Celestial Kingdom) but who were not sealed to their spouse in an LDS temple will be 'servants' to those who are sealed to their spouses. This makes NO sense to me, and never did. Why would a loving and compassionate god force people who had obeyed his commandments, but for whatever reason were not married to another Mormon in a Mormon temple (like maybe they joined the church after marriage but their spouse didn't join), to spend eternity waiting on people who were lucky enough to have what they didn't? That would be HELL, plain and simple! If there really was a "one true God" who knows and sees everything, I don't believe He/She would be that mean or petty. Same with babies and small children going to somewhere 'lower' than Heaven just because they died before being baptized into a church, although this aspect seems to have been dropped by most religions now. (This also has me wondering who made that decision -- God, or someone else?)
I followed the Wiccan path for many years, but eventually realized that Wiccans don't really know any more than the Mormons do about what happens after death, they're just much more flexible about the possibilities. I studied the shamanic path for awhile as well, but then decided to take a break from all spiritual and religious exploration and give myself room to just breathe and think about it all. That is where I am at this point in time.
So I'm open to any and all thoughts, beliefs, hopes and speculations about this subject. What do YOU think/believe/hope happens after we die? Where (if anywhere) do we go, and what (if anything) do we do? This inquiring mind would really like to know...