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"Death is the black hole of biology. It's an event horizon, and once you go over that event
horizon, no information can be passed back out of the hole. So people can stand around
the edge of the hole and say, Well it was this or that, but in fact, it represents some kind of
limit case in the thermodynamics of information. You just can't hand messages back over
that threshold. So get yourself pointed right, do not your mantras bungle, and that's about
it. When you're actually dead, all bets are off. The best answer I've gotten yet out of this
is from Don Delillo's Underworld, where the nun discovers that when you die you
become your website..."

Compiled by: Terry McCombs


Melanesian dead go to Adiri, the Land of the Dead. Some say it is an island, others say
that it is a mountain located in the west beyond the sunset.

The dead are said to go though a journey past dire obstacles and grim gatekeepers before
they can enter Adiri where they will be young forever and free of pain. Those who fail to
make it cease to exist. And even those who make it can fade from existence if the living
forget them.


According to Japanese Shintoism there is a staircase that links earth to the afterlife. This
is the Ama-No-Hashidate.

This is the afterlife of the Ashanti people of Africa. They say it is just like an Ashanti
village on earth, only better. No drought, famine or the like. Though the dead still have to
farm and tend animals.


The Norse dwelling place of the gods. It is a complex city of rich places, jewelled walls,
and great banquet halls. and Valhalla. Like many afterlifes it is reached via a bridge.
Astral Plane:

The idea of the Astral Plane has been around for some time. Here I am referring to the
afterlife that is described in a partially channelled book titled War In Heaven by Kyle
Griffith. (1988 S/R press) In the afterlife described by Mr. Griffith the Astral Plane is as
harsh and dog eat dog and the breathing world. And you don't live forever but can only
exist for as long as the energy you build up during life holds out (30 to 80 years) you then
have to reincarnate or fade away.

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! It seems that thousands of years ago a group of spirits
found a nefarious way to prolong their Astral lives without reincarnating. They invented
religion and appear to the newly dead as Jesus, Muhammad or even Elvis. Whom ever is
mostly likely to pull them in.

They then continue to exist by draining the energy from those followers of that religion.
(starts to channel Criswell) YES FRIENDS! Can you stand the horror of cannibal spirits
who take the form of Elvis!

He calls the groups that do this The Theocrats. However they are not without opposition.
It seems there are other groups of spirits he calls the Invisible Collage.

His basic suggestion is that once you die, if you are greeted by the Buddha (or Mary, or
Saint Paul, or the Angel Moroni) punch him in the nose and say no thanks!


Also called The Fortunate Isle, this is the paradise of the ancient Celts. And was said to
be a place of compleat timeless happiness, filled with music, feasting and dancing.

The afterlife of the Australian Aboriginals. When a person dies the soul is ferried to
Bralgu in an enchanted boat that sails upstream where you are reunited with dead
relatives and friends.

If all the Rug-Rats were to die on one of their adventures this is where they would go,
even Angelica. If they were Aztec.
Chalmecacivati is where the Aztecs believed babies and young children went in the
afterlife. It is an earthly realm free of pain, want or human frailty.

Ching Tu:

This is a paradise described in one form of Chinese Buddhism.
It is said to be to the West beyond the sunset. This is a place to take refuse from the cycle
of birth, live, death and rebirth by entering this land of pure consciousness, enlightenment
& liberation.

Chinvato Peretav:

According to Zoroastrianism after a person dies the soul stays with the body for 3 days.
On the forth day angles of protection accompany it to the north to Chinvato Peretav, or as
it is also called Al-sirat, or the Bridge of the Separator.
The bridge in question is as thin as a hair and as sharp as a razor and spans a chasm filled
with monsters. At the foot to the bridge the angels and some demons debated the worth of
the dead soul. You can guess the rest.

City In The Sky: A common belief among a number of African tribes is that the dead go
to a great city in the sky, it is like regular village life only in reverse. People rise as the
sun sets, and sleep during the day, men to women's work and women do men's work etc.
The City is connected to earth by rainbows.


The oldest recorded afterlife is Dilum. We know about it from The Epic of Gilgamesh
from around 2500 B.C.E. Dilum means Place of sunrise and is said to be a lush garden
full of fruit and game where favored souls live forever.


Djanna or Al-Janna is the paradise of the Islamic religion. In the "garden of Allah" the
faithful enjoy delicious food, fruit in abundance, and freedom from pain.

There also they indulge in everything that was forbidden on earth (I have to wonder why
the hell was it forbidden in the first place?) In it flow four rivers filled with milk, water,
wine, & honey.

Each inhabitant is served by Houri (it's where our word whore comes from) beautiful
virgins with ebony eyes, creamy completions and purple nails who exist to serve their

Whether this means Djanna is an exclusive men's club you will have to ask a Muslim.


At first the Greek afterlife was pretty grim. Just take a look at Ulysses's conversation with
the resent dead in the Odyssey.

Later however they talked about the Elysian Fields. Which depending of the person
telling about them are to be found on the Moon, Underground or elsewhere in the
kingdom of Hades.

Most it seems are doomed to the gloomy afterlife that Ulysses heard about. However for
the most deserving souls there is a secret road that leads to a land of endless delight.
Where "souls take ease among the blessed groves."

Another Celtic afterlife. Some Celts believed that after a series of rebirths in which a
different inborn evil is purged the perfected soul is at last let into Gwenved the White
Place where one can experience great rest as well as earthly pleasures.

Happy Hunting Ground:

Basically a white man's term for different Native American views about the afterlife.
Mostly the Indians just called it the Spirit Land. Among the Algonquian, Iroquois, &
Cherokee it is said to be a place where both human and animals go after death and is a
place of endless Spring and Summer.

However before a human can enter this place they must have lived a life in which they
exhibited at least one of the three virtues of loyalty, kindness or courage. Those who do
not make it are lost a wandering spirits. Those who do are able to help the living with


The people of eastern Polynesia believe in Hawaiki which means "our homeland." It is
reached only after a long and dangerous journey. Most do not make it but die on the way.
However for chieftains, warriors and other important people the journey is easy.
Though if you give another gifts to the gods they can make it. On the whole sounds like a
bum deal to me.


Which mean first born is the afterlife of the Belaze of Zaire.

In the afterlife death is like life only ones station is determined by when one died so that
the first man to die is the chief and each person after him takes their place in the order of

Isle of the Blest:

The afterlife of Pythagoras, Plato and Cicero. Pythagoras said that it was to be found on
the Moon.

Soul must soar there but can only do so by purging the residue of life on earth. Along the
way there are evil forces that try to destroy the soul.

To prevent this the ascender must perform certain rites and rituals during their life.

Kailasa, Mount:
Also called the paradise of Shiva Mt. Kailasa is located in Tibet. Some Hindus say that
before once again entering into the cycle of life, death & rebirth some souls may be
rewarded with a stay at the top of this mountain.

There the soul enters through the Palace of Opulence and ascends to a place of flowers,
fruit and water better then any found on earth, before having to return to the search for


The highest stage of knowledge in the Jain faith where each soul dwells in eternal
enlightenment and bliss.

Somewhat like the Buddhist Nirvana or the Hindu Moksha. There the self is dissolved
after many lifetimes and the soul having made it's way through the five Pathways of

Souls who have made it to Kevala are called siddhas or perfect ones.

The greatest thing about this say the Jains is that one totally sheds the body and is striped
of all individual characteristics.


A Chinese afterlife where the peaches of immortality ripen once ever three thousand
years. It is ruled by Hsi Wang Mu the Royal Mother of the Western Paradise who was
once a hideous beast but who was eventually transformed into a gracious spirit.


According to the Tupi Indians of Brazil three days after a person dies a small human
shaped creature grows in the heart until it can burst free and soar into the sky.


The Village of the Dead to the Hopi Indians. It is said to lie beyond the Lake of
Whispering Waters somewhere to the west. It is a place of rest and plenty.

Land of the Moon:

According to the Inuits (Eskimo) virtuous souls ascend to the Land of the Moon there to
find eternal rest. While the wicked fall into Adlivun which lies at the bottom of the ocean
and is a place of unending darkness and cold.

Lewu Liau:
The Ngaaju of Borneo say that the souls of the dead journey to a land of fertile fields and
plentiful game, where the air smells of summer flowers all year long.


Not a part of official Christian doctrine, said to be a place where unbaptised babies go
who can't go to heaven because of original sin, but aren't bad enough to go to hell.

Also said to be the place where the pre-christian patriarchs when (Can't have Moses,
Samson & David roasting in hell can we?) Said to be like heaven only without being able
to see God.

Not excepted by most, if any protestant sects. As one famous American preacher put it
"the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of unbaptised babies."

Meru, Mount:

In ancient Hindu belief the paradise of Indra the Lord of Paradise, called Swarga is found
atop Mount Meru. Which was said to be found at the center of the Universe directly
above the Himalyas.

It is also found in the Tibetan Book of the Dead where it is called the sight of wonders.


Another African "mirror afterlife" where the dead rise at sunset and plant crops in the fall

The dead in Mizumu must remain near the living as they still need food, shelter and
companionship. However they spend more time eating, drinking and dancing then the

Also those in Mizumu must be appeased as they are able to bring misfortune to those that
displease them.


This is the ultimate spiritual destiny of HInduism. The goal is to reach a state where
reincarnation is no longer needed and spirit dissolves as an individual entity and joins the
collective cosmic essence, as "a drop of rain joins the ocean." i.e. become one with the

Mormon Heaven:

According to the Mormon's when you die you don't go to Heaven when you die but to the
spirit world.
If you are a Mormon you can at that time try and convert the other dead to Mormonism.
(Editorial comment. Oh yeah, it's not bad enough that your dead but you still have to put
up with Mormons knocking on your door?!?!?)

Heaven it seems will not show up into the "Resurrection." At which time Mormons will
enter into Paradise.

Paradise is said to be a place of both natural splendor mountains and streams and created
splendor houses of gold, jewelled streets etc. Married people who die will be free to
remarry in the after life.

However those who are married on earth can go through a ceremony that will seal their
marriage in the afterlife so that that will remain married after-death.

Only those who do this are able to ascend to godhood. This option is closed to both single
people and unbonded people.

And of course as we all know from South Park only Mormons go to Heaven, but who
wants to go as you have to spend forever with Mormons.

New Age Afterlife:

There are far to many takes on the afterlife among what is called the New Age Movement
to really say that this one or that one is THE New Age afterlife. Though there are some
common (more or less) themes. For which I point to the link below.

What the Afterlife is like:

New Jerusalem:

The name for the afterlife for a number of Christian sects. Which they say will appear
when a new earth is made. They say it will be made by God and descend from Heaven.

According to the Bible it will be of equal length and breath (1,500 cubic miles by modern
reckoning) Which is about the distance from New York to the tip of Florida.

Otherwise it is just a grander, larger redoing of the City of Jerusalem.


As with the Jain Kevala or the Hindu Moksha not a place but a state of being. Or not
being depending on how you look at it. In which the `self´ is let go and becomes one with
the all.

The Celts known as Druids believed (as far as can be said as they did not write down
anything) a purified and elevated earth that was the dwelling place of the god.

Only a thin metaphysical barrier separates the two realms, so the living can speak with
the dead. It was even possible through the intervention of a god for living humans to be
invited into the Otherworld.

Humans could also force or blunder their way into it. This belief lived on in belief in the
Fey, Fair People or Fairies.

To be sure modern Druids have their own ideas about the afterlife.

The Pole Star:

The Pole Star was the pivot point for the Aztec Universe, the place of the dead. 13 domed
regions revolve around it. Made up of the then known stars (planets), the Moon, Sun,
Clouds, Lightning, Rain, Heat & the earth. Beneath the earth were 9 underground realms.

As for the dead of the Pole Star it was divided into 4 regions, one for each direction. East
is for warriors, sacrifices, and traidsmen who die in far lands. South is for those who die
in or by water. West is for women who die in childbirth while the North is for Children.


Before the Hebrew religion there was a wide spread belief in a Semitic afterlife. It was
called Sheol and was thought to be a place of unending quite, where there was no pain,
but also no joy because the dead were forever cut off from the realm of god and the
angels. The dead were week, faded and lethargic. Over time this idea was kept but
rethought as a place where evil-doers were sent.


The phrase Summerland has been used by a number of different peoples. New Agers,
modern Pagans, modern Druids 19th century Spiritualists and some Native Americans
say that their real word for the afterlife could be interpreted as Summerland.

However the first use of the word that we can be sure of is found in the works of
philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. Who said that was a place of no material properties
but was an ethereal realm of the purely intellectual & emotional.

Tain: *
The afterlife of Confucius and other ancient Chinese philosophers.

This afterlife is highly organized and under the command of Tain-Shen, who rules a
heavenly court that sees and records every human action during life. The very good are
rewarded by being made bureaucrats in the hierarchy of the sky.

As with earthly bureaucracies the way can be made more easy though the liberal use of
money. To this day you can buy a special objects made from paper that are burned and go
with the dead (cars, houses, fake money) where they become real in the afterlife.


The Aztec afterlife that was to the West of the Pole Star and the place where women who
died in childbirth went. There whey lived with the Sun, they could, if they wished leave
this realm for short times to bring illness and death to child. You figure it out.


The Aztec afterlife that is found to the South of the Pole Star.

It is were people die in water, by the weather or lightning go and is ruled by Tlaloc the
god of thunder and lightning.

Tlalocan is a place of friendly animals, fragrant flowers and peace.... save for the times
that Tlaloc demands a sacrifice... but that's for the living for don't worry about it if your


The afterlife of the Melanesian Islands is reached by riding on the back of a giant serpent.
However only those will a certain mystic birth mark or tattoo are let in. Once in the usual
feasting and joy is found.

There are many such afterlives to be found with just a few differences here and there.
Such as Tumbuka of the Malawi people, Tura of the Mongolians, The White Mountains
of the Mohave Indians.


The Land of the Heroic Slain of the Norse people. Only warriors who died in battle could
be taken to Valhalla there to battle all day, be remade at sunset and feast all night on roast
goat. The regular dead went to the land of the Goddess of Death Hel.
And the clock struck 13. Which means that someone had to die, or at least take it to a
clock repair shop. To say the least there could have been a lot more versions of the what
some people think the afterlife will be like, assuming there is such a thing. Many of them
are enough alike that just naming them and repeating the same things seemed kind of
pointless to me.

As for the more orthodox versions of the afterlife I figure there are enough other places to
find people who will be only TOO happy to regale you with talk about them so I left
them off as well. However there is another source for thoughts about the afterlife that I
don't think should be left out.

Fiction: Fiction! Get real that's just something that someone just made up! Those aren't
`real´ afterlives. Are they?

Who is to say who is and is not really inspired? The Catholic Church after all has (or at
least had I'm not sure any more) Purgatory for centuries and it came from one person.
Who's to say that Harlan Ellison is not just as deserving of Sainthood as that fellow?

There are far too many different afterlives to be found in fiction to be listed. Just some
are such ones as:

Traitor To The Living by Philip Jose Farmer. At one point in this book the hero discovers
that at death the dead person becomes part of an `atom´ of the dead, a grouping of 64
former humans who can communicate with each other but no others. Hard luck if the
people who died near the same time you did don't happen to speak your language. Farmer
has also come up with some other afterlives in other books.

In Mick Farren's Jim Morrison's Adventures In the Afterlife we follow the travels of the
ex-rock star ex-breather in the hereafter. Farren's afterlife is a rather `fleshy place, at least
so it seems to those there.

While mostly a mental construct, it is perceived by those there just as the physical world
is to use.

Though how you think about such things can have a pretty profound effect on things,
explaining why Welsh poet Dylan Thomas manifests himself as a large drunken billy goat
with crooked horns, and Amy Simple McPherson splits into two different people.

Then there is that game from White Wolf where one plays a lost spirits or the like.

Well...... Like I said there are a lot of fictional afterlives out there..........

Or are they fictional?