Everyone knows that the Egyptians went to somewhat extreme lengths to ensure their continued life after death. They built huge tombs, hoarded wealth, and performed elaborate rituals and preparations on their bodies after death. It all makes for very interesting cultural history, but it all reflects back on their religion, beliefs and mythology.
The practice of mummification was based
on one of the myths of Osiris and his brother Set.
I’ve heard from people who say they aren’t always comfortable with the traditional element/direction correspondences. Some make adjustments to suit their own locations, such as a person who lives on the east coast of the United States may chose to associate east with water rather than with the more traditional air. It’s hard to ignore a huge ocean to the east.
I have found when people are curious about Paganism, one of the first things they ask is “What do you believe happens when you die?” It’s a valid question and seems to be important to people. So here is an outline of a very generalized Pagan view on the afterlife.
Before I get started, I would just like to point out that there is no single or set doctrine among Wiccans when it comes to the details of the afterlife. Some other Pagan paths do have a more specific mythology about it, which I mention in more detail at the end of this page.
Even if you can’t pronounce it, you have likely heard of the great World Tree called Yggdrasil. It’s part of Norse mythology, and is literally the central part as this ash tree is believed to grow up through of all the various worlds, connecting them.
I’ve always envisioned this tree with its roots in the underworld (Niflheim) and its highest branches in the realm of the Gods (Asgard). Well, that’s not really how it’s laid out after all. There are 3 roots to Yggdrasil, and under each of the roots is one of the mythological worlds: Asgard, Niflheim (or Hel), and Jotenheim. The trunk of the tree runs through the realm of man, Midgard.