Timeless Spirit LogoWICCAN VOICES

A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. July's Theme:"Key to Heaven"
Volume 3 Issue 5 ISSN# 1708-3265
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Wiccan Voices
with Anne Ellis

The key is a very powerful symbol. It unlocks what is hidden and reveals mysteries. The key to the afterlife is a mystery that religion and science have struggled with since the first human watched a loved one die and wondered, where are they now?

Each religion holds different beliefs to be the keys to Heaven. Christians revel in a private utopia where only a chosen few are given keys to tightly locked doors, while many Wiccans tend to believe in an open door policy where there are no guest lists or cover charges. Judgement and strict rules govern access to the Christian Heaven. Once inside the walls of the pearly gates all that is dreamed of becomes possible. Virtues such as Grace, Faith and Hope are the keys to the world of perfection where there is no struggle or strife, all things wished for are readily available. On earth Sloth, Greed and Gluttony are sinful - in Heaven they are the rewards.

Judaism and Islam, of course, share similar ideas to the Christian concept. In Islam Allah is the key, while Jewish beliefs centre on two gardens one may enter, with the right key. In the Lower Garden of Eden humans rest in their earthly bodies partaking in pleasures similar to those found in Christian's Heaven. In the Upper Garden humans rest in the form of their true essence and enjoy spiritual pleasures greater than those found in the lower garden.

Buddhism and other eastern philosophies also employ a type of judgement to evaluate life, not to measure who gets in the door, but to see how far along the path to enlightenment has been traveled and whether the next life with be a step forward or two steps back. Living under the rules of karma and following a life of compassion and suffering improve the chances of getting off the wheel of life and becoming one with the universe. The Buddhist key is enlightenment, the body returns to the earth and the spirit reunites with the universal energy, rejoining the ebb and flow of the cosmos.

Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism followers also sit in the reincarnation garden holding the keys to rebirth. Many Wiccans lean towards these beliefs too, but without the karmic judgement. The Summerland, the Wiccan name for Heaven is a rest stop to reflect and learn from this life so the lessons can be carried forward to the next.

When I questioned other Wiccans about their beliefs in the afterlife, I got a lot of personal answers. As to be expected some leaned toward Christian thought, while others tended towards Eastern philosophies. When I asked what the Wiccan belief was I got a lot of blank looks and vacant stares. Modern Wicca* is still so young comparatively we are still forging this key for ourselves, borrowing beliefs from older and wiser religions and melting them down in to our own personal beliefs. Which makes it hard to discuss the keys to Heaven from a Wiccan point of view.

After learning about all the different beliefs the question arises, how do we know which is right? Is it possible only one is, or are all of them right for the individual who believes in them? Perhaps Heaven is a big multicultural expo where each religion has a section to worship, practice and create the Heaven of their desire. Perhaps we've all got it wrong and the afterlife is a concept so huge the human mind can't hope to comprehend it.

All of these thoughts act as keys, they help us unlock and release the burdens of fear we carry like Pandora about what happens after we die. They bring peace and comfort to those who are dying and the ones left behind. But can we be sure these places are really waiting for us? Where is the key which opens the door to the truth?

I've thought a long time on these questions. Wondered what the afterlife holds and searched for meaning. The key to the truth, I believe, is that the key to Heaven isn't a key at all. The door isn’t locked or barred. It is open to anyone who wishes to enter. If there is a key then it rests within the hearts of people trying to create Heaven here on earth. People working towards a better life now, utilizing such keys as compassion, understanding and acceptance.

If we can live our lives seeking the keys to unlock these ideas in others, what happens in the afterlife no longer matters; we achieve our rewards on earth and open the gates for all to find their own keys to Heaven.

*The term Wicca denotes the modern earth-based religion brought to the public eye by Gerald Gardner in the 1940’s, which many modern-day traditions are based on. Gardner reconstructed his teachings and writings from older, even ancient, pagan faiths which have existed for thousands of years. What Shamans, midwifes, herbalists, and Pagans practiced in centuries past constitutes what Wicca is based on today, but it was never referred to by that term. It is this writers understanding that Modern Wicca is young while its roots are perhaps older than time itself.

An accomplished RuneCaster, Spiritualist/Medium, Consultant Herbalist, freelance writer, and 10-year practising Eclectic Witch, Reverend Anne Fairmoon Ellis is also a certified Reflexologist and Reiki Master/Teacher, and as an ordained First Degree Priestess/Mentor in the Correllian Tradition, is also the Shrinekeeper for The Raven's Moon Shrine in North Vancouver, B.C.

Her current delightful priority is working as a Domestic Engineer for a vivacious two-year-old. You are also invited to visit Anne's website.

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