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  • Margaret Manning (guest author)

[GUEST POST] Shamanic Perspectives on the Afterlife

When was the last time you sat down and really thought about what will happen to you after you die? Depending on your religion or spiritual belief, you may have an idea of what death means to you. Did you know that shamanism is the ancestor of most world religions?

We spoke with Linda Fitch, a shaman and a teacher in energy healing, about life after death according to the shamanic tradition. [CLICK TO WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE]

What is a Shaman?

A shaman is a spiritual healer who serves his or her community in several different ways. Shamans act as a psychopomp, which is one who walks with the dead to the afterlife. This is an essential part of their training.

The idea of crossing over has been present in the minds of humans for thousands of years. It goes back to the earliest cultures when the ancients had “death books” that contained incantations to make sure that the dead reached the next life. Shamans serve the people of their communities by making sure they enter the afterlife peacefully.

Shamans undergo rigorous training to learn the art of accompanying the dead on their “spirit flight.” The spirit flight is the moment after death when the soul leaves the body and journeys to the afterlife. Shamans separate their energetic bodies – or their spirit – from their physical bodies to help the dead cross over.

What Does Life After Death “Feel” Like?

As we approach death, one of the pressing questions we have is: what does that moment after death “feel” like? According to the shamanic tradition, which has its roots in nature, a loud roaring noise happens immediately after death. According to Linda Fitch, the moment after death – and the sound you hear – usually resembles “the wind and the elements.”

Time Doesn’t Exist After Death

Linda explains when shamans leave their bodies to accompany the dead on the spirit flight, there is no such thing as time. They will separate from their physical body for minutes, but they will only feel like they have left for a few seconds. Linda explains she commonly runs into this with her students. When she is training her students in the separation, they often complain that they weren’t gone that long!

What Does Life After Death “Look” Like?

When we think about the death journey, we think about what we will see as we approach the afterlife. In the shamanic tradition, the soul can travel either up or down. The shaman leaves his or her body and accompanies the spirit of the dead to the upper world.

The journey to the afterlife resembles layers through the sky, but – according to Linda – what those layers look like depends on the culture. She describes one particular culture that believes that the layers through the sky look like the geography of the Earth. As the spirit and the psychopomp approach the afterlife – or the light – the shaman stays with the dead until someone they love comes to escort them the rest of the way.

In Shamanism, Traveling Down After Death Isn’t a Bad Thing

Linda Fitch explains that in shamanism – unlike other traditions – the idea of traveling down after death doesn’t mean something terrible. The Christian tradition gives it a negative meaning. However, Linda describes one particular shamanic tradition, the Celts, who believe that the spirit travels downward first to wait for a guide that will bring the spirit up through the sky.

What do you think happens to us after we die? Are they different than the shamanic tradition, or are they the same? Let’s have a conversation!

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