Monday, June 9, 2008

Life revisited

According to the Russian Orthodox religion, when you die,
your soul remains on earth for three days revisiting the
places where you spent most of your life. Your guardian
angel accompanies you on this pilgrimage, pointing out
the true meaning of your acts and choices. The soul is then
taken on a tour of heaven and hell. Forty days after death
comes the hour of judgment, "when everything the soul has
learned on its journey becomes real, when it begins to face
the consequences of actions that it might have chosen to
forget, and when it faces the genuine prospect of torment
stretching onwards to the end of time." (from Night of
Stone, by Catherine Merridale)

In the Tsarist era, anyway, the soul was seen as a "fragile,
timorous thing, always described as pale, a doll-like copy of
a person perhaps, as delicate as a newborn child. Some
people imagined it with wings, flying out of the body with
the last breath."

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