I grew up in a semi-religious household. My father believed in God, but didn’t really practice anything. My mother and grandmother on the other hand were Pentecostal women and went to an Assembly of God church. As a child this was my religious knowledge. I was told two fates awaited me when I die. There was Heaven, a place where everyone lived in a mansion along streets of gold. Only good people who have accepted Jesus into their hearts would be there. Then there was Hell, a fiery pit filled with pain and suffering. In Hell you would be tormented by the Devil and his demons for all eternity. This was my first experience into what the Afterlife might be.
Before I go too much further into my beliefs I would like to say that I do not like the term “afterlife.” I am using it in this context so that what I am talking about is easily understand by everyone reading it, and it is a popular term we all use. What is it I don’t like about this word? Well, the whole “after” part. It gives the impression that this life isn’t important, only what comes after, and everything before is just bad prequels.
The afterlife is just a continuation of a part of us in the Unseen world. As we live and breathe here in the Seen world, we also exist simultaneously in the Unseen. There is a part of us that is eternally there. We can gain glimpses of it in our dreams at night. If we are lucky enough, sometimes through various rituals we can enter the Unseen as well.
Our culture does not like the idea of death. I have spoken before on this, so I won’t repeat myself. I have been a registered nurse for many years. I have comforted the dying person, been with people as they died, consoled family, and taken care of the physical remains. It is part of my life. It is part of my spiritual life with the Akhu and my father, the Good God. So I have thought about and mediated on my own death. I am not going to lie to you; the idea of death scares me. How do I know for sure that the essence of who I am will continue? The simple answer is I don’t. I just choose to believe it. It’s all based on my constant choice of faith.
The Ancients tell tales of treacherous journeys after death, obstacles to overcome, and finally judgment before the gods. One must be in balance with ma’at in order to pass judgment, or otherwise oblivion will occur. What awaits the transfigured soul is a paradise, a field of reeds, fertile land, and reunion of families. Doesn’t sound too different then what I discussed at the beginning of this blog.
What is important here is that continued existence is dependent on being in ma’at. We are eternal beings. Our hearts which hold so many troubles, disappointments, sadness, anxieties, hatreds, joys, and loves must not be too heavy with what we have experienced in the Seen world. Our hearts cannot also be too light, indifferent, or non-caring in order to find continuation in the Unseen. We must be balanced people. We must find a way to deal with the happiness, sadness, and anger which make up the emotions our hearts feel. We must find a way to be complete.
I do not remember if I ever told this before, but I will repeat here if I have. I once asked Wesir…
What is the meaning of it all? What is the purpose of life?
His response was simple and profound.
Our purpose is to live life to the fullest every day, every zep tepi.
I leave you all with a quote from the Book of Going Forth by Day which I frequently use as a prayer to remind myself of what I find important.
O my heart which I had from my mother,
O my heart which I had upon earth,
Do not rise up against me as a witness in the presence of the Lord of Things;
Do not speak against me concerning what I have done,
Do not bring up anything against me in the presence of the Great God, Lord of the West.