Archive for August 9th, 2011

The Veil

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

I know that we all have our personal feelings as well as those of our tradition when it comes to what happens when we pass through the veil. For many it is something they do not want to think about. Perhaps because they are young and believe they have a full life ahead of them and there is no need to spend time thinking about something so far down the road. For others it is the fear, or terror, of dying that keeps them from thinking about death and dying. And, while it is not a subject to dwell on for too long, lest we get melancholy or even depressed, it is something we must all face someday.

 Since most of us Wiccans and Pagans came from a Christian background and from an early age have been taunted with the rewards of heaven and the terrors of hell, it is hard to switch gears to the reality of a Summerland where we all go. To a place of love, peace and rest. A place where no one is waiting to judge us or even to weigh the weight of our heart against a feather. It does seem that there has frequently been threats of punishment and reward associated with the afterlife in most mainstream religions. What a powerful way to keep their subjects, members and citizens doing their will. Fear is a powerful motivator.

 It does seem interesting to me that since so many Christians believe, or so they say, that they are going to heaven when they die, that they fear death so much. This has been brought to my doorstep by some recent events. The first of these was the death of my mother-in-law. A Christian woman who, although in pain and living in a nursing home, fought death so very vigorously. It was not until the day of her death that she found the peace, through the comforting words about heaven from the hospice chaplain, and was ready to pass through the veil.

The second brush with the afterlife came when my father, also a devout Christian, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and placed in an Intensive Care Unit. After many ups and downs, all the while calling out “I don’t want to die!” and reciting the “Lord’s Prayer”, he flat-lined. Since he didn’t have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR), he was revived. He is currently in a nursing home and making slow progress.

The third incident was our cat, and I know she is Wiccan like us, passed through the veil on night not too long ago. She was slowly fading and finally quit eating and drinking. I visited with her on the night of her death and she seemed very much at ease. She passed away later that night in her sleep and I found her where I left her, the next morning.

With so much death and near death around me lately, it has caused me to reexamine my thoughts and beliefs in the dying process and what waits for me beyond the veil. I know that I do not fear death and also that I know there are many things much worse than death. Perhaps also because I am older and have had a wonderful life so far, I am comfortable with the idea of dying. I know that it is something that I, as well as everyone else must eventually face. When I think of this, I think of the words of the great Persian poet Rumi, who said:

When I die

I will fly with the angels

and when I die to the angels

What I shall become

You cannot imagine

I am comforted in my mind and my soul. I believe in reincarnation and that the afterlife will be a respite before another incarnation. I know that I must make the best of the life I have and to live life to its fullest. And yet, take care of my body and soul while I am able to do so. I believe that death is the final frontier, of this lifetime and I will go where many have gone before me including myself. I am not ready to die, but I am prepared to accept it when my time comes and I want to go like my cat and not like my Christian family members. I will go in peace knowing that there are loved ones, ancestors, spirit guides and gods there waiting to help me with that transition, oh and those angels too. I pray that you may also find peace and understanding that the veil is not the end, but the next great adventure.