after life

Multiple Souls

June, 2018

(Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash)

 

This document is intended as a commentary on, and companion to, Wendy’s Division of the Soul class. I have called my text ‘Multiple Souls,’ because I believe it is equally valid to say our identity is closely associated with inner spirits. Where we draw the boundary of identity depends on the circumstances. On spirit journeys we encounter deeper levels of ourselves, but we also have to deal with other entities in passing. Some of these are completely independent, others are partly integrated with the soul, partly independent of it.

Please bear in mind that this is lore, not information. It isn’t necessary to agree or disagree with all or part of it. Lore is like ore; you must dig it out for yourself, melt it down, refine it, and shape it into the tools you particularly need. This is, in fact, my lore, my ore. It fits my needs, but it goes without saying that it will not and cannot fit all of yours. If you can make use of it, do so; for the rest, take it as entertainment.

The rest of this text serves as commentary on Wendy’s document.

Many Hindu and Buddhist traditions teach that the everyday personality dissolves when Brahman or nirvana is realized. The Craft attitude to this, I believe, is that it doesn’t explain why we find ourselves in phenomenal existence, on this plane, at all. What is it for? When a witch has an experience of the deep self, with access to memories of past lives and a sudden understanding of this life and its limitations, this seems to be a living, growing entity, absorbing the lucid experiences it receives from life after life. This we call the root soul. Each life begins when the root soul sends a shoot up to Middle-earth. A baby is born. The extension of the root soul that comes awake at this moment is called the bud soul. The bud soul looks out on its outer world. But behind it, looking on silently from the inner trunk, is the dream soul. The dream soul can go down and up the trunk, down to the root soul, and in fact does so at death. It is usually quiet during waking, but helps us weave our dreams at night, providing access to inner spirits in the field of the sleeper’s imagination.

The dream soul is in communication with the root soul. It is called the dream soul (by Michael York) because its journeys up and down the inner pillar generally start from dreams, in particular lucid dreams, when we know we are asleep and dreaming. The bud soul (called by York the life soul) watches over the body during these journeys. But it can also travel from the waking state, from a peculiar state of awareness called lucid waking. At such times, the experience of Middle-earth continues but additional senses are added to it, so that other levels of the inner pillar shine through, as it were, our ordinary perceptions. Journeys down the inner pillar frequently contact old, forgotten memories and bring some of these to the surface of consciousness when the dream soul returns.

Like a tree, our inner trunk has tree-rings, containing memories, feelings and viewpoints from past experiences in this life. When we journey inwardly, we acquire the freedom to experience the world as we once did, at different ages. We also recover the freshness of early experience, along with early enthusiasms. In the course of his or her inner journeys, the witch begins to live life from all the experiences of this lifetime, and even, in time, from far memories of past lives. This anticipates the work of integration of this lifetime’s experiences into the root-soul which is largely accomplished in the period of rest and recuperation between lives.

The dream-soul is that portion of the root-soul that is projected into Middle-earth at the start of a new incarnation. It is not the whole root-soul, but is the part chosen to deal with the circumstances of the new life. It selects its new bud-soul from the elementals round about, and the latter serves as the elemental of the new body, much as a dryad is the elemental of a tree or stand of trees. It interacts with the bud-soul from time to time, especially when returning from a spirit journey, and the part of the bud-soul so affected will accompany it back down to the root-soul at death, leaving only the original body-elemental to stand by the grave. In pagan times offerings were made to this elemental, and it still retained some connection with the dream-soul, sending the etheric portions of the offerings down to the Summerland. As graveyard offerings have largely ceased, the connections between the two souls are not kept up, and in time the bud-soul forgets its incarnation as a human and goes into nature as a local genius. The Buryat Mongols say it takes about ten years for such an elemental (called by them the suld) to forget its once-human existence.

The bud-soul also serves to relate the dream-soul to the physical and social environment in Middle-earth. The bud-soul employs language and engages in audible as well as mental talking. The dream-soul communicates in images and feelings but is usually silent, looking out on Middle-earth through the eyes of the bud-soul.

The ancient Balts and other peoples assigned a special tree to each person throughout life. The tree had to be tended with care, for if it died, it was believed the person would die also.

Between lives the root-soul enjoys the company of its generic family, as well as a special family of souls, called in this tradition the witch-family, who have agreed to reincarnate together and help each other to evolve. Some of these souls are reborn at the same time, while others stay in the Summerland and help their witch brothers and sisters from the Other Side. When we encounter one of these witch brothers or sisters we feel especially close to them, perhaps closer than to many generic family members. Eventually the root-souls of a witch family have absorbed all the experiences and lessons necessary, and are ready for transmutation. As a group, the witch family travels to the Sun and there receives a body of light. This is described in both Tuscan witch tradition and in the Prasna Upanishad. This concludes the tutelary relationship with the Watchers and elementals. Thenceforth, the soul of the witch will be a special sort of elemental that is balanced in all four etheric substances, air, fire, water and earth, and their attendant powers. One can still visit Middle-earth on occasion, but it is no longer necessary to reincarnate. The bud-soul is carried within the body of light and can be used to generate a temporary material body for this purpose.

This is as far as I can see, or imagine, our future. We want to grow, develop to the point where we will be of use to the gods, or, probably, the daimones or demigods. Many ancient initiatory systems describe our ultimate destiny as becoming a daimon or demigod ourselves. I don’t think this is particularly important; for myself, I am more interested in what work I will be doing. Perhaps I will pay back the help I have gotten along the way by guiding a mortal after me, or by guarding his or her home. Or perhaps I am being trained, through various lives, to do some special work for the gods. This is where I stop speculating; I am content to wait and find out.

New Series ‘Project Afterlife’ Premieres This Month

August, 2015

Premiering this month on the Destination America channel is Project Afterlife, exploring Near Death Experiences and resurrection. It follows many of the conventions of the genre, like portraying the hosts as members of a team and the cinematic reenactments of the interviewee’s experiences. Project Afterlife does throw in some surprises though. For one thing, both the victims as well as the doctor or other witnesses are interviewed. They are given an almost equal amount of time in fact. It was also interesting to see a variety of NDEs: there is the classic white light experience, but also an encounter with a dead friend, a frightening experience, and a religious encounter.

“Do you believe in resurrection?”

If the signature question of the filmmaker seems strange to you, it might help to know his previous project, Deadraiser, a documentary exploring resurrection through prayer. I wondered at this question through the pilot. I also wondered at the disparate makeup of the team of presenters. What brings a paramedic, a retired state trooper, a minister, and a filmmaker together? At the end of the episode it is clear: a prayer circle and belief in resurrection.

If you are a fan of the phenomena of NDEs like I am, the show is worth watching, though it might need some parsing. It is clear that the show comes from a particular religious view of resurrection, which might put some people off. However, the glimpse it provides into this area of religious experience is fascinating in its own right, I feel, especially to one unfamiliar to it.

 

projectafterlife2

 

Six-Part Original Series Premieres Sunday, August 9 at 10/9c Only on Destination America 

 

 

…from their press release:

Each episode follows the team as they investigate two stories of the most fascinating contemporary cases of resurrection across America. Survivors were in the prime of their lives when an accident or sudden illness led to their untimely deaths, only to inexplicably return to life. Through cinematic recreations and first-person interviews with survivors, PROJECT AFTERLIFE explores the mystery of resurrection while bringing viewers up close and personal to the experience. Hear directly from survivors about the moment they realized they were dead, what – and who – awaited them on the other side, what it felt like to die and come back, and how it changed their lives afterward.

 

In PROJECT AFTERLIFE, the investigation team pours through case files, examines medical records, and visits key locations in each case to better understand these documented experiences by survivors. Interviews with doctors and family who kept vigil bring investigators one step closer to understanding resurrection by revealing key patterns in the surrounding circumstances, such as loved ones always holding the victim’s left hand during prayer.

 

… and if you think this is the first time you’re hearing about the channel:

Destination America is the only network to celebrate the people, places, and stories of the United States. The inclusive network targeting Adults 25-54 is available in nearly 60 million homes, emblazoning television screens with the grit and tenacity, honesty and work ethic, humor and adventurousness that characterize our nation. Destination America features travel, food, adventure, home, and natural history, with original series like BBQ Pitmasters; A Haunting; Mountain Monsters; Buying Alaska; Buying the Bayou; andRailroad Alaska. For more information, please visit DestinationAmerica.com, facebook.com/DestinationAmerica, or twitter.com/DestAmerica. Destination America is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 2.7 billion cumulative subscribers in 220 countries and territories.

You can find out more about Destination America at @DestAmericaFacebook.com/DestinationAmerica, and DestinationAmerica.com