Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 19,794,391

March 4th. 2017 ...

Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion

February 10th. 2017 ...

Understanding the Unseen

Kitchen Magic and Memories

January 10th. 2017 ...

The Gray of 'Tween

Becoming a Sacred Dancer

Little Dog, Big Love

December 9th. 2016 ...

A Child's First Yule

November 10th. 2016 ...

What Exactly Is Witchcraft?

A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities

On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans

What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)

October 10th. 2016 ...

Witchcraft from the Outside

September 11th. 2016 ...

Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess

How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)

September 3rd. 2016 ...

Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?

What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?

Nature’s Reward

August 12th. 2016 ...

When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch

Past Midnight

Hungarian Belief in Fairies

Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament

July 13th. 2016 ...

What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses

Magic With A Flick of my Finger

An Open Mind and Heart

Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum

June 13th. 2016 ...

Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality

Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia

My Father, My First God

Life is Awesome... and the Flu

May 15th. 2016 ...

Wiccan Spirituality

Faery Guided Journey

How to Bond with the Elements through Magick

Magical Household Cleaning

Working with the Elements

April 2nd. 2016 ...

Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected

An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity

The Evolution of Thought Forms

The Fear of Witchcraft

Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele

Magic in Sentences

Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess

March 28th. 2016 ...

Revisiting The Spiral

Still Practicing

Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion

Spring Has Sprung!

January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

Energy and Karma

Community and Perception

December 20th. 2015 ...

Introduction to Tarot For the Novice

Magia y Wicca

October 24th. 2015 ...

Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self

The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans

Native American Spirituality Myopia

A Dream Message

Feeling the Pulse of Autumn

October 16th. 2015 ...

Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts

September 30th. 2015 ...

The Other-Side

September 16th. 2015 ...

Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate

Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents

August 6th. 2015 ...

Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale

July 9th. 2015 ...

Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Magic of Weather

June 7th. 2015 ...

A Pagan Altar

A Minority of a Minority of a Minority

The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?

Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism

May 6th. 2015 ...

Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism

I Claim Cronehood

13 Keys: The Crown of Kether

March 29th. 2015 ...

A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft

March 28th. 2015 ...

On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations

March 1st. 2015 ...

Choosing to Write a Shadow Book

Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story

February 1st. 2015 ...

Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader

The Three Centers of Paganism

Magick is No Illusion

The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames

January 1st. 2015 ...

The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch

Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft

Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 14465

VoxAcct: 390248

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 2,222

Times Read: 3,084

RSS Views: 13,847
Renew Ancient Death Rituals

Author: Grey Ghost
Posted: February 27th. 2011
Times Viewed: 3,084

While all of the world’s religions have significant differences, some common themes or belief systems appear as one study the religions of the world. As an example common Judaism and Islam both hold a belief that there are seven levels in heaven. Most organized religions believe in some form of an afterlife or existence of some form after the death of the physical body. Even agnostics often express a hope that there is something beyond mortal existence. If you have ever had a loved one die and you asked yourself the question: “Why did they die?” then you have already begun the process of questioning the modern funereal rite.

… infinity… alpha…omega… symbol became sigil, sigil became letters, letters became words and words became volumes of thought through which we try to understand the world around us. But what do we do after the mind has died? How will the after life appear?

You just woke up, but you are not hunger; there is brilliant light coming through the windows. Whoosh; you are down stairs and there is a wonderful tree set up in the living room with lots of presents, but wasn’t it Samhain just a few days ago? Looking closely at the tree there are no presents for you, but your picture is on the coffee table with a shiny black ribbon around it. You feel like you are waking from a bad dream now, but you can’t wake up. You seem lost, though you’ve seen the map a hundred times. Landmarks don’t look familiar, yet you know you’ve been here before many times. You have been exposed to many great books on religion and philosophy, but you can’t remember the prayers and chants to move forward. Then the daze overcomes you and you go into the faint again. This is the Bardo, as described by various translations of the Tibetan Book of the Dead or related to us by various Hindu and Buddhist sages.

The Jewish and Christian texts call this time Purgatory, the “waiting room”, while Islam refers to this time as Barzakh. Numerous religious texts around the world describe what happens after the death of the physical body, as do countless medical books. The similarities of these narratives are more prevalent than the differences; common themes appear in almost all mystical religious texts. The modern cult of N.D.E, near death experiences, reinforces the descriptions given in many of these ancient tomes.

Once upon a time there was a vast Egyptian culture that stretched over a great part of northern Africa and throughout the Mediterranean. Pharaoh ruled the empire and was believed to be a living god, with divine authority to govern the people of Egypt. At this point in the history of the world, only the priesthood of this mono/polytheistic religion and a few of the very wealthy could read and write. Illiteracy was common among the masses and actual words represented by hieroglyphics were magical, having great spiritual power. The mystical spiritual word was the province of the priest class. Written word was divine. As valuable as written text was, scrolls with elaborate instructions on what to do after death, which have become known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, are often found in the tombs of the dead. Leaving expensive to produce written scrolls in the tombs of a mostly illiterate population seems to be counter intelligent unless there was a strong belief that the dead could use these materials in an afterlife.

“To be or not to be”, that is indeed a good question to ask as you approach the subject of death. The art of dying is as simple as this over used quotation. You, without the least doubt, have heard the statement that we never die. That somehow we miraculously change into some type of spiritual entity, becoming a living being on another spiritual plane or dimension or heaven or Summerland or some place worse. Some New Age religions go so far as to expound that we go to another planet after death.

The populist television program Ghost Whisperer would have us believe that all one must do after the death of the physical body is put all our affairs in order, help our loved ones reconnect, make sure everything is happy-happy, joy-joy, forgive each other and “Walk into the Light”. This walk into the light scenario is repeated in an abundance of current literature and books about spirituality such as The Compete Idiot’s Guide to Life After Death by Diane Ahlquist, 2007. Based upon my own anecdotal experience and many years of study of ancient texts on dying, my opinion is that the “walk into the light” scenario is a religion-fabricated fantasy designed to placate the survivors.

My goal is to dissuade those that believe this simplistic view in the hope of reviving the old ways or forms of the funereal rite. I fervently support the need for a complex funereal rite which will aid the dead in their post mortem existence. These complex funereal rites do not require a great deal of expense, just a bit of dedicated thought and time. These rites are better when preformed by family or friends rather than clergy. You do not need the use of a funereal home or church to achieve results, nor do you need to spend vast sums on expensive caskets, burial vaults or monuments.

Psychiatry and psychology are used to treat the human mind. Most notably, Carl Gustave Jung realized that the conscious mind or Ego is only a small part of the true inner self. In spite of the habitual inclination of the scientific community to accept only what blatantly whacks them in the face, a few perceptive individuals have linked mental disorders to something beyond the conscious realm. Hindu and Buddhist monks have long accepted the fact that we are what we think. Madame Blavatsky and a few noted theosophists were among the first to introduce the idea of a mind spirit body connection to the Western culture.

Many cultures go to great lengths to separate the spirit from the body after death, such as the Navajo belief in ghosts that resented dying. The Navajo would burn the body quickly after death, destroy the home of the deceased and take a roundabout path back to the village to prevent ghost following them home. Voodoo followers believe that the spirit of an individual remains close to the deceased for nine days and must be locked into the grave by ritual on the ninth day to avoid control by sorcery. Whether it is three days, seven days, nine days or longer; most religious and secular text concludes that there is a time limit during which contact can be made to the departed inner spiritual being. Tibetan monks perform death rituals for as long as forty-nine days to ensure the dead pass over.

The various religious traditions that were researched in preparation for this essay have a multitude of viewpoints. The so-called Eastern religions are most often associated with Hindu or Buddhism. A leading teacher and author of the early 60s was Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) , a successful professor of English literature, who came to the United States in 1959. He is credited with teaching the first course in meditation at a major university. He started the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in 1961 and during his life wrote over twenty books on various aspects of spiritual advancement.

Master Easwaran makes a point that how we view our existence is fundamental in understanding the process of death. The first of his points is that we are not the body. To quote his analogy, “Let me put it this way. I have a tan Nehru jacket of worsted wool made about ten years ago in Hong Kong. It fits me nicely, and I give it proper care: I don’t drop it in a heap on a chair; I button it, smooth it out, and hang it up carefully in the closet so it will last several years. But when I wear this tan jacket, I always have another jacket on underneath: a brown one made in Kerala, India. It fit even better – not a seam anywhere – and has brown gloves to match. I take good care of it, too. Now, you wouldn’t confuse me with my tan Nehru jacket, would you?”

Master Easwaran makes the point that we think of ourselves in terms of the temporary body that we inhabit for a short period of time. While the importance of taking care of this vehicle cannot be underestimated, the point is that we are not the body. The body is a container for the essences of life, not life itself. During deep meditation when we leave the consciousness of the body behind we understand the importance of caring for the physical body and the “privilege” of using this physical body to complete the great work of spiritual advancement.

To quote master Easwaran further, “Someday my tan jacket will wear thin and have to be put aside. And someday too my brown jacket will no longer be useful for service, and I will have to put it aside in the great transformation we call death.” When we bring into context that we are here for a brief time in all sorts of beautifully colored jackets, it becomes clear to the native that the important thing in this incarnation is to make spiritual advancements needed for our evolution. This understanding will free us from the pursuit of possessions, which often encumber our ability to transcend the physical world during the process of death.

A second major point the master Easwaran makes in several of his books is that we are not the mind. The mind is the part of our existence that we deal with everyday we come into contact with others. The mind is the ego; the conscious existence that we confuse with our true selves. The wise choice of food, exercise, sleep, occupation, health habits, lifestyle, sleep – all these enhance our abilities to be healthy and vital. Yet, none of these will aid us in our search for spiritual advancement, nor will they come to our aid at the time of the death of our physical bodies. A primary need in spiritual evolution is the ability to separate our inner self from the mental ego that encases it.

One method of achieving this separation is through the use of a mantra. We must experientially learn to separate our inner selves from the physical body and mental body if we are to transition the great evolution, known as death, with the least amount of fear and mental pain. The mass medial and current crop of entertainments would have one believe that all we need to do at the time of death is, “Walk into the light.” Well, I submit to you that ascended masters and mystics throughout time would greatly disagree with this simplistic approach to the afterlife. Accepting a personal deity into your physical life will not guaranty a smooth transition into the spiritual spheres.

“Consciousness will always be present, though a particular consciousness may cease… The particular tactile consciousness that is present within this human body will cease when the body comes to an end… Consciousnesses that are influenced by ignorance, by anger or by attachment, these too will cease, but the basic, ultimate, innermost subtle consciousness will always remain.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.

The time is at hand for the Pagan community to embrace the old ways of the funereal ritual that center around reading a Pagan Book of the Dead for those that are about to die or have just died. The purpose of this reading is to transfer Pranic energy and information needed by the inner spiritual being of those who are about to die to enable them to negotiate the horrors and dangers of the astral world. The reading provides the formula, chants and prayers needed by the inner spiritual being to navigate the Sephira of the Tree of Life after the death of the physical body.

Meditation”, Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) , The Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, Nilgiri Press, 1978. A short 250 page pocket book which contains all the material needed to successfully meditate, also on audio tape

Copyright: none


Grey Ghost

Location: Airway Heights, Washington

Website: none

Author's Profile: To learn more about Grey Ghost - Click HERE

Bio: profile in record

Other Articles: Grey Ghost has posted 9 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Grey Ghost... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to Grey Ghost ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2017 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).