We take a look at the pre-Christian beliefs of the Mari people in Russia. A progressive Christian discusses their feelings about the afterlife. And Buddhist writer Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche explains the conversion process for his religion. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly news segment about religious communities and faiths around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
There's very little about animal afterlife in heathen mythology, and it's all pretty tenuous. There is a vague idea of sea dogs on Nehellenia's boat, the dog and oar being two of her symbols, in addition to the cornucopia. Some consider her to be the same goddess as Zisa. The boat may be a symbol of the afterlife journey, that is, boat as psychopomp. That would be consistent with using boats in funerals and with making boat shaped graves, both of which are historical practices. So, a dog and boat depicted together could be interpreted to mean that dogs which traveled with warriors at sea accompany them to their afterlife. As I said, pretty tenuous. Unfortunately the written lore is only a tiny piece of what the ancients would have known.
I've always liked the idea of the multipartite soul from the moment I first read about it. The idea is that there are many parts to the soul, parts that can go on to an afterlife, parts that return in the family line or in someone named after one, parts that are recycled into something completely different, parts that just stop, in an individual sense, but go on everywhere else (breath, for example, just stops for the individual, but that doesn't affect the idea of breath, or anyone else's breath.) I don't know if animals are just like people in that way or not. I think they do have souls, though, based on my gnosis....
May you spend lifetime with your gods, pleased with you without displaying anger.
May your reward be received after old age.
May you enter your tomb of the necropolis and mingle with the excellent Bas. May you be judged among them and be declared righteous in Busiris before Wennefer and be well established in Abydos before Shu-Onuris.
May you cross over to the district of Peqer in the god’s retinue and cross the divine region in the retinue of Sokar.
May you join the crew of the Neshmet barque without being turned away. May you see the sun in the sky when it initiates the year.
May you be triumphant in the sky, a shining one.
May you transform yourself into whatever you wish, like the phoenix, with each of your forms being that of a god, just as you desire.
— Quoted from: Ancient Egyptian Tombs: The Culture of Life and Death © 2011 Steven Snape.(Translation from Papyrus Anastasi I, based on that of Wente 1990:100-1 (Wente,E.(1990) “Letters from Ancient Egypt”)
Is your ultimate idea of paradise to spend your eternity with chosen deity, to enter the sacred marriage, hierogamy of the soul? Some people follow the path of spells that will make them take permanent residence on the fields of Offerings with Osiris but Coffin text spells of the Book of the Two Ways were written especially for "hermopolitan devotion". The selected few CT spells are precisely aimed at making your residence "in the mansion of the Moon" and joining the suite of all devotees of Djehuty who want to "admire his beauty all the time". And why wouldn’t you? When you start a devotional relationship with a deity, it means you align your soul and desires with that deity’s values and personality - and, with all deep and core aspects, not simply something that lies on the surface. You undergo a transformation with each divinity you touch.
There is a quite different argument against abortion I have heard from several Pagan women. I am more sympathetic to it than to the usual “fetus is human” claim that I demolished in my previous post. Even so, I think it ultimately fails, though it does complicate a woman’s decision....
I was asked recently to develop a talk which could be delivered as a sermon, using ancient Egyptian sacred texts and ideas. Here is Part 1 of that talk.
We open this morning with words from the sacred Egyptian text called the Book of Coming Forth By Day:
[rhythmic shaking of sistrum]
“Oh my heart, my mother! My heart, my mother! Do not rise up against me as a witness, do not speak against me in the presence of the great god, lord of the west. Dua, ibi, hail to you my heart! May you say what is good to the gods. I go forth, not dying in the west, but becoming a spirit in it.”
The crafting of a life is an epic journey, a story which has been told around the world for as long as we have memory. For the ancient Nile dwellers, survival was exquisitely poised on the banks of that great river where the mysterious flood arose each year, bringing new fertility to the whole land. But the Egyptians also carried the understanding of how this life is linked to the next one, the deep mysteries of life, death, rebirth and new, transformed life.
Hail to you, Bull of the West! So says Thoth, King of Eternity, about me.
Most of the Pagan world in the Northern Hemisphere observed the feast of Samhain this weekend, drawing near to and honoring the blessed dead....