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Introduction: A Pagan's View of Death

“The fact that has been denied to people is this: Death is an opportunity to start again: another chance. This process is a natural one, not something to be feared.”

G&Y Frost, A Witch’s Magical Handbook, p. 143


How do people view Death? Is it feared? What do people believe occurs after Death? Does the alteration of the verbiage of “Death” to “Passing Over” change its conceptual meaning? What happens after Passing Over? Where do we go? How is the Otherworld conceptualized? Is it uniform or is it personal?


Lots of questions with as many answers as there are people. Write the above questions down. Answer them according to what YOU feel. Do that before you continue reading this lesson. I’m serious about this because I don’t want MY feelings on the answers to these questions to impact your thoughts, impressions or feelings on the subject. 


Once you’ve answered those questions come back to the lesson and compare my viewpoints with yours. Are they similar or are there vast differences? Do my ideas bring new insight to you? Or maybe they confirm yours even deeper or even less so. Regardless, no one’s answers are wrong.


How Is Death Viewed?

Each religion sees it differently. Christians see it as possibly seeing a "white light" and going to Heaven...or Hell, depending on circumstances. Catholics see Purgatory as an option as well for some. And depending on who you read, this going to "Heaven or Hell" may happen immediately or it may have to wait until the 2nd Coming of Christ. For the Jews, there is no "afterlife". Pagans see Death as Transformation. I use the capital “T” to denote its sense of being. It is not an inanimate “thing”, it is something that is filled with Life Energy. Transformation means to change from one thing to another as a caterpillar changes to a butterfly. When we pass from this life to the next we transform from the physical to the ethereal.


The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings & Meditations on Crossing Over by Starhawk, 1997 - THIS BOOK MUST BE IN EVERY PAGAN’S LIBRARY


Is it Feared?

Maybe by some, maybe not by others. Myself, I fear the manner but not the actual event. I welcome seeing what’s on the Otherside. But do I want to feel the pain of saying “goodbye” to my loved ones, and they having to say their “farewells” to me? Gods, no!


This “fear of the actual event” is what brought about the concept of this course. I’ve performed 2 Passing Over Rituals. I’m readying myself for the third. I’ll be 50 in a few months and I realize that my family and friends will begin leaving. Some already have.


The first rite was for my stepmother. The second was a “helper” rite for a friend who lost her good friend. This next one will be for my cousin who was killed suddenly in a head-on collision. I couldn’t afford to go to his funeral and so I’ve felt “disconnected” from the whole process. His birthday was soon after the accident, so I did my ritual at that time. He would’ve been 48 years old. He was my childhood buddy. And when our family was in TX visiting family, Derek & I were inseparable.


Another aspect regarding my personal fear is that I may have the cancer gene. I don’t want the testing to find out. I don’t need it. My mother was one of twelve siblings. Ten of them have, have had, or have died of some form of cancer. My mother included. She passed of lung cancer at the age of 56. My sister has had breast cancer. She was 45 when she was diagnosed. She is now cancer free.


Do I fear how I will Pass? Absolutely. But I choose not to dwell on that aspect of the Passing Over part of Life.


What do Pagans Believe Occurs after Death?

Wiccans believe in the “Summerland”, a place of beauty for the soul to relax and be a peace before returning to the next physical life.


“Heaven” is a Judeo-Christian term for where they will be when the Messiah returns to take them away. “Hell” being its counterpart. 


The Summerland and Heaven aren’t too dissimilar: a beautiful place of peace. And besides, its just semantics anyway.


I, personally, just refer to it as the “Otherside” or “Across the Veil”. My perception of this Place is It is what I make It to be. If I am a miserable human being, then I will take this misery with me and produce a like environment through those energies. On the opposite end of that spectrum is that if I am a happy person, then my experiences Across the Veil will reflect this as well.


Our environment will be produced, reflected, and a result of, that which we perceive it to be through the energies we bring with us.


I read a story a long time ago about a Christian man who kept having “memories” of being in a WWII concentration camp as a Jewish man. His final dream was when “he” (the Jewish man) walked into the gas showers. As “he” (the Jewish man) died he saw a blue light and progressed onward. At this point the Christian man woke up and was very confused. Why had he not seen a white light? Everybody knows, you see a white light when you die! After quite a bit of research he found out that the Jewish faith believes that it is a blue light that is seen at passing!


So although he was Christian, with his own beliefs regarding the Afterlife, during those dreams of his previous incarnation (another concept he was confused about, but certainly changed his mind on) he saw what the Jewish man expected to see upon his own passing.


And this is why I believe that what we conceive is what we perceive.


Does the alteration of the verbiage of “Death” to “Passing Over” change its conceptual meaning?

Have you noticed that I have only referred to “Death” once so far? The reason for this is because I see “Passing Over” as a far more descriptive term for what occurs rather than “Death”. 


Yes, Death is a Transformation. But Death, to me, only occurs for that millisecond before the Spirit and Soul have Passed Over Across the Veil. Only for that millisecond is there no “life” in the physical or the ethereal. It is the point of Transformation. It is 11:59:59:59.… on the Clock of Life.


What happens after Passing Over?

This concept again is perceptual. Some people believe that there they spend time with family and friends who have passed. Others believe they get “jobs”. Still others think they do nothing, just kind of sit and wait. Then there are those who believe that the soul immediately inhabits another physical life or maybe waits a few years.


There are the “Walk-Ins”, those Spirits who choose to leave the physical life at a specific point so another Spirit may come in to complete that life. This may occur through a traumatic event or suddenly the person is “different”. This is a very intense subject and not one for this venue, so if it is a subject of interest to you, then I suggest you begin your research online and bookstores.


I personally believe in several of these concepts. 


First: family and friends are a given and is pretty much a universal belief, regardless of religion or belief system.


Second: “jobs”. I know this sounds a bit weird, but this one I “know” because that is what my mother did. She would “call” me and “talk” to me in my dreams on a regular basis. During that first “call” was when she told me that she was helping children to adjust when they Crossed Over. This is so totally my mother! She loved kids.


I also had a friend many years ago who Passed suddenly of a brain hemorrhage. He had been a pre-school owner. He “visited” me once and told me that he was working with kids, teaching them. 


From these two particular instances I gather that children are the most in need of assistance upon Crossing Over.


Third: doing nothing and waiting seems like a boring thing to do. But it can be conceived a couple of ways. 


If someone has envisioned a peaceful place to “do nothing” when they Pass, then why not? Maybe they’re fishing or resting in a hammock by a creek. Whatever they so choose to do. Sounds kind of nice to me!


On the opposite end of that spectrum, what about those who are miserable? Maybe they don’t know how to reach out for the Love that encompasses the Universe. Maybe its alien to them and they aren’t yet comfortable with all that it brings. 


But if that Love “lets them be” and only reaches out gently and touches them every now and then, then at some point don’t you think they would want more and more? And at the right time, then they could embrace that Love and return it.


Fourth: reincarnation is an absolute belief of mine. As I mentioned earlier, I had conversations with my mother for years after her Passing. Then all of a sudden they ended and I didn’t know why. Until my sister informed me a few months later that she was pregnant! My sister could never have children, but here she was almost 40 and pregnant. My nephew is our mother reincarnated and he is healthy, happy and sooo beautiful! His name is Ronan, which is Celtic meaning “sealed pledge”. This tells me that my mother and my sister made a “sealed pledge” before coming to this life that my mother would give my sister the greatest gift - the gift of giving life, having a child.


Where do we go?

If you haven’t gathered an opinion yet, then now is the time to really think about it……we go where we want to go! Because we make our own “Heaven”, “Summerland”, “Otherworld”, or what ever name you so choose to call It.


How is the Otherworld conceptualized? Is it uniform or is it personal?

There may be a certain uniformity to the Otherworld regarding specific aspects, such as “laws of nature” that cannot be broken. But as for it being “personal”, oh yes, it is very personal!



This introduction is to bring you to the subject of Death and Passing Over and how you react to It. It is probably theeee most personal aspect of your life here in this physical being that you could ever encounter. This is a subject no one really wants to think about or especially talk about.


But Its not something to run from. By having a healthy confrontation with yourself regarding how you feel about the subject then you can work through any blocks or walls that prohibit you from truly learning about yourself and this “other side” of you.


By studying about Passing Over and the beauty of the rituals that can be performed you can open your mind to allow a more relaxed point of view to form and your fears may be removed or, at the least, reduced.


Many blessings on your Journey!

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