By Lisa Page
Have you ever wonder what happens when you die? Well your not alone peole have been wondering this since the beginning of time & probably long before. Any answer to this question is theoretical at best. Why you ask? Because no one has ever died and returned to the mortal world with the memory of what it was like on the other side. There has however been a lot of conjecture as to what happens when we die.
Just about ever culture believes in some form of life after death. This varies greatly from one society to the next, here are just a few of the different beliefs:
* The spirit continues continues an existence, only in another realm.
* The spirit is judged and the sent to heaven or hell based on how you lead you life.
* The spirit undergoes a series of rebirths/reincarnations, it's goal is to improve toward a higher plane.
* The spirit waits to eventually be reborn or resurrected.
There has been a group of people from alomst every society that has the ability to communicate with the spirits of those that have passed on. These people are called mediums. The word medium suggests that this person is a midway point, between the two worlds; the living & the dead. Some tribal societies call the medium a shaman. A shaman is considered to be a wizard of sorts. He/she act as a healer and an intermediary for messages between, the living, the dead and the gods.
Oracles and priests related messages and warning from the dead to the living, in classical times. Necromancers were seers andprophets that used magical spells & rituals to contact the dead. They would also call up the spirits of the dead to get information about the future.
Still others believe that, priests can accepts peance or alms for you will you are alive & that this will lighten you punishment when you die. In spiritualism, a medium acted as a go-between to the worlds of the living and the dead. They are most known for contacting your loved ones at seances.
Another thing that varies from one society to the next is where we go once we die. The ancient Greeks believed in an underworld found in the bowels of the earth. They believed that caves, crevices, and cracks in the surface of the Earth where doorways to Hades.
Those from Animistic societies believe that the spirits of their loved ones exist side-by-side with them, just unseen. Occultists and cabalists believe that there are ethereal concentric layers or plateaus around the world that are inhabited by different types of spirits.
Christians believe that if you are good you will go skyward to heaven & that if you are bad you will go downward, though not necessarily underground, to hell. Still other cultures, believe that the dead are put on hold, so to speak. They believe that that go to a netherworld where the await rebirth or judgment.
How the spirits actually get to the Other World is yet another problem. During the time of the Pharaohs, in Egypt, the walls of the tombs and the sarcophagi were filled with hieroglyphs. These hieroglyphs instructed the dead on how to proceed to be judged, then reborn into Eternity. The wizard-priests would also help to ease this passage through ritual prayers & mummification.
They believed that the soul had a spirit double. The double had two parts, called the ba & the ka. The ba held characteristics, traits & personality of the person and the ka was the life force. Both the ba & the ka remained in the burial chamber, while the soul moved on after death. The ba & the ka were able to leave the chamber & walk the cemetery at night. If the body was broken apart or if it was corrupted, the ba was unable to return to the chamber, this is why the used mummification. If the priest failed to make the proper offerings then the ka had to travel among the living to find food & drink.
There was a myth that began during the time of the Pharaohs, that the soul had to travel over a river to judgement. Classical Greece expanded this belief. The taught that the soul had to cross the River Styx into Hades on a small boat. This boat was driven by the ferryman Charon. The legend was then adopted & adapted into Roman mythology.
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