Sunday, December 18, 2016

What Happens After We Die?

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...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

It's the End of the World as I Knew It... and I DON'T Feel Fine

Once upon another lifetime (March 2013), I started this blog.  Now that I think of it, it really WAS another lifetime, before any of the crazy stuff with my mom and grandmother began.  I'm definitely not the same person now that I was back then.  Are you?  Probably not, no matter what has or hasn't been going on in your life.

2016 has been a year of way too many endings and beginnings, at least for me: losing my mother, losing a beloved cat, buying a car, starting my online museum certificate program, finding out that we will probably have to move soon as our apartment complex is being sold to people who want to renovate it and raise the rents through the roof, and now that travesty of a presidential election.  Even though two of those events are good things, it's still too much change all at once, especially after the previous two years of mostly loss.  It's enough to want to make one want to just give up and crawl in a hole for at least the next four years, when hopefully all those nasty problems will have gone away.

Except they won't have, of course.  That's the problem with cowering in a corner, in a hole, or under the desk.  Those nasty problems just wait quietly until you poke your head out to see if they are gone, and then POW... right between the eyes.

But we can we do?  We're just average people, right?  Wrong; we're GOTHS, and if we were average, we wouldn't be wearing killer boots and lots of black, wandering around in cemeteries, and listening to The Sisters of Mercy, London After Midnight, and Siouxsie Sioux.  Some of us have had to deal with hate and prejudice more than others, but at some point ALL of us have felt (and may still feel) that we were 'different' from the sheep in the local flock.  We have all worked for, and earned, the right to think outside the box.

Unfortunately, the election seems to have given some people the idea that it's now okay to voice hatred to anyone they don't like or who is different from them, and to promote physical and verbal violence even more than usual.  We don't need this, and we definitely don't need the US government to support it!  

If ever there was a time for Goths to show solidarity and support for what we believe in, 

While I'm trying to think outside that box and find a constructive and useful way to confront these problems, I've been signing every petition to support ballot recounts, disband the Electoral College, defend Standing Rock, and stop the new government from messing with Medicare that I've been able to click a mouse on.  I've sent money to some of them, too, which I never used to do.  I'm THAT worried...  But we can all do more, and I'd like to, if I could figure out what needs to be done.  Share your thoughts and ideas here, please!!  

And if anyone reading this actually voted for Chump and thinks he will be just what this country needs to become 'great' again, I give you this quote from British author Evelyn Beatrice Hall:

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

May we never lose that right, especially by our own hands.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December: "I'm SO Goth..."

Have yourselves a wonderfully Gothy Holiday!!  

(If I can find this card for sale, I'm definitely buying it in bulk! In the meantime, you can find more of Aly Fell's work here.)