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Friday, 20 March 2009

Death As A Graduation

Death As A Graduation Cover The physician has just told her she has two weeks to live. People may assume she will display anger, perhaps terror, perhaps despair. But many of us in the Craft envy her and wish her well. For in the Craft, knowing so surely that reincarnation is a rational, orderly sequence of learning and of increasing wisdom, we can feel only happiness for those who are judged complete, those who leave the rest of us behind to continue our learning and our assignments. What a joyous day it is when the spirit is allowed to lay aside the worn-out body and rise weightless to join those who wait on the other side.

Should she cut short the last few days and commit a deliberate suicide? No. Suicide is equivalent to playing hooky; it will inevitably result in another lifetime in another body. She would have to learn all over again how to tie her shoes, how to blow her nose, how to discipline the untidy human emotions. She accepts serenely the fact that her time of discomfort is finite now. However unwelcome it is, the discomfort is the means to her desired end: Graduation. The assignments of this lifetime are completed, and Those Who guide our path have approved her work. She is cleared to go on.

Soon, she will be reunited with friends whom she has missed keenly during her separation from them. Soon she will talk freely with the Guides, gaining understaning of all she learned through the sorrows, the pain, the discomfort, the plain hard work she experienced in the body.

Those who witness her transition may feel sorrow; it is only natural to do so. Their sorrow is for themselves, for the vacancy she leaves behind, for the silence when they used to hear her voice. Their happiness is for her who will depart for the place she longs to be. When they weep, they know their tears represent healing. They reflect on the little verse first written in German:
Just as a leaf falls from the bough,
so goes a life from out the world.
The birds cease not their singing.

Some traditions believe that too much grief holds a soul to the earth. This may be part of the reason why so many people hold Samhain so dear as they can then close out their grief as best they know how.

Some people have written in to ask about Wiccan burial rituals. In the current culture of the United States, the less damaging rite we can think of is cremation. If you donate your body or organs to science, then that is a promising option. We can think of nothing more distasteful than a permanent concrete casing underground after our bodies have been filled with preservatives and chemicals. If you live in a place where your body can be buried without all this harmful stuff being put into it, then turn your body back over to the elements to "biodegrade" and give back to the Mother. If not, then cremation may be have the least detrimental environmental impact.

Any ceremonies a Wiccan might perform would include transitioning and letting go, much like a peaceful parting of the ways to send the departed soul on in peace and promise of new opportunities.

As usual, we invite your comments. We are not trying to offend anyone or scorn his or her tradition, so please be constructive. Our hope is that we all may arrive at a shared understanding of what we are doing. If you know a better way and the reasons behind it, please share that better way with the community at large.

Suggested ebooks:

Richard Spence - Secret Agent 666 Introduction
Marcus Cordey - Magical Theory And Tradition